BROOKS, AB (November 26, 2016) – Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) backhanded home the dramatic overtime winner just 66 seconds into the extra frame on Saturday night, as the Brooks Bandits (19-3-3) recorded their seventh straight win with a 3-2 victory over the Okotoks Oilers.
The Bandits battled back from a 2-1 second period deficit to take the two points and remain tied in points with the Calgary Canucks for first in the AJHL South division, but with four games in hand.
Brooks opened the scoring at the 10:56 mark when Nic Vlahos (Mississauga, ON) wired home his third goal as a Bandit from the high slot, picking the top right corner over the glove hand of Okotoks goalie Riley Morris.
In the second, the Oilers tied the game just 32 seconds in when Tanner Laderoute beat Bandit goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) on an odd-man rush. On a subsequent 5-on-3 power play, Reece Soukoroff fired in a goal from the high slot to give Okotoks a 2-1 lead.
But the tide turned after Okotoks forward Austin Wong was ejected from the game for an open ice headshot on Vlahos, giving Brooks a 5-minute power play. The Bandits tied the game with exactly 5 minutes left in the period when Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) fed a pass from behind the net to Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) at the top of the crease, who beat Morris with a quick close range shot to make it 2-2.
Despite a 15-7 Bandit shot lead in the third, the period was scoreless thanks to stellar netminding by both Morris and Benson, and overtime was required.
The game-winning goal came when Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) fed a left wing pass to Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) who carried in deep of Oiler territory and left the puck in the right-wing corner for McKechney. The sophomore Bandit forward made a spin move away from pressure and cut to the front of the net, twisting and flicking a high backhand shot over a well-positioned Morris to send the crowd of just under 1,200 into a frenzy, and home happy with a Bandit win.
Brooks next hosts the Camrose Kodiaks on Wednesday night for Wild Wednesday at the CRA, with tickets and beer both at half price. Tickets are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 PM.