BROOKS, AB (September 22, 2017) – The Brooks Bandits (1-2) inducted their longest-serving player into their Wall of Fame, and recorded their first win of the 2017-18 season, quadrupling their season goal total in the span of a single game, with a 9-2 victory over the Calgary Mustangs on Friday night at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks.
Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON) had his first two goals in the AJHL, while Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) had a two-goal night, Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON) had his first AJHL goal, and captain Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) had a four-point night.
The night began with a pre-game ceremony honouring Anthony Paskaruk (Airdrie, AB), who suited up in 367 total regular season and playoff games for the Bandits over five years and became the team’s second inductee into the Smith Group Bandits Wall of Fame. The ceremony featured a video recalling some of Paskaruk’s many great moments in a Bandits uniform, and ended with him thanking Bandit fans in an impassioned speech to the assembled crowd.
The game began inauspiciously for Brooks as the home side allowed the opening goal just 1:45 into the game on a Joseph Karpyshyn chance from the top of the crease on Bandit goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON). But the Bandits tied it up at 14:28 when Boyko cut to the slot from the left circle off the rush, and fired a low shot past goalie Calum Humble for his first in a Bandits uniform.
The Bandits outshot the Mustangs 11-4 in the first, but the game remained tied, until Brooks pulled away with three goals in the second despite a narrower 14-9 shot lead.
Mahshie wristed in his first in the league from the left circle just 3:14 in, and Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) deflected in his first of the year with his skate on a feed from Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN) at 11:31. Finally, a Parker Huebner (Leduc, AB) shot at 14:47 pinballed off skates in front of the Mustang net and came to Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) for a rebound goal to make it 4-1 entering the second intermission.
In the third, the Bandits outshot Calgary 20-7 and lit the lamp five more times. Cesana scored off the rush at 4:18, and just over a minute later, Boyko had the second of his career on a rebound at the right side of the net. Tyler Vanuden (Fort Frances, ON) tipped a Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton, ON) shot in at 6:51, but Karpyshyn got the Mustangs back on the board with another net front goal at 10:15 to make it a 7-2 game.
In the dying minutes the Bandits struck twice more – first Jean on an odd-man rush at 18:06, and then with 45 seconds left Tyler Carangelo (Hamden, CT) tipped in a Nic Hamre (Ottawa, ON) shot to not only seal the 9-2 final but also win free cheeseburgers for the more than 1,200 ticketholders on the night.
The Bandits next will hit the road to Drumheller on Saturday night for a 7:30 matchup with the Dragons, the first of six meetings between the two close geographical rivals. Pre-game coverage starts at 7:15 on Real Country 105.7.