BROOKS, AB (November 14, 2015) – Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON) sent a crowd of 1,424 into a frenzy at the Centennial Regional Arena on Saturday night, scoring with just 3.5 seconds showing on the clock to give the Brooks Bandits (15-4-2) a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over the Olds Grizzlys (8-13-2) at home.
It marked the first time this season that Brooks had won a game after allowing the first goal, and moved the team 1 point back of Camrose for first place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) South with two games in hand.
Through 40 minutes, neither team could solve either goaltender, with Josh Davies (Guelph, ON) of Brooks and Kurtis Chapman of Olds pitching perfect periods. Chapman got the lion’s share of the work, saving all 31 shots he faced in the first two periods and making 42 saves overall in the game.
In the third, it was the Grizzlys who broke through first, when a Tristan Thompson point shot slid between the pads of Davies to give Olds the lead with just under six minutes gone in the frame.
But at the 14:25 mark, Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) left the puck behind the Grizzly net, where it was picked up by defenceman Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT). The 19-year old rookie skated his way to the right faceoff circle and sent a spinning shot towards Chapman, beating him five-hole through a screen and dramatically tying the game.
That game seemed destined for overtime until O’Connor this time started a scoring play, keeping in a late Grizzly clearance and finding leading scorer Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) in the high slot. He feathered a pass to Pereira, streaking in behind the defence, and the Bandit veteran lifted a quick wrister past Chapman for the game winner.
O’Connor’s two point night gave him a whopping 11 points in his last 4 games, while Cockrell extended his team-high point streak to 10 consecutive games, with 6 goals and 10 assists in that span.
The Bandits will hit the road Tuesday night to take on the Calgary Mustangs at the Father David Bauer Arena; puck drop is at 7:30 with pregame coverage beginning at 7:15 on Q105.7.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #19 Jesse Pereira
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #18 Derek Lodermeier