BROOKS, AB (November 27, 2015) – Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) scored a hat trick, but so too did Zach Mills of the Bonnyville Pontiacs, as the Brooks Bandits fell 6-5 at home in an inter-divisional matchup at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
Prior to the game, the Bandits honoured long-time broadcaster Dennis Seibel with a video tribute, several video messages from former Bandits throughout the game, and with the unveiling of the newly-named “Dennis Seibel Media Suite” at the CRA.
Playing without leading scorer Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) and defenceman Charlie Marchand (Calgary, AB), the Bandits nonetheless opened the scoring when McCrory scored his first on a sharp-angle shot set up by a hit thrown by captain Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN).
But the remainder of the first period belonged to Bonnyville, after a fight between their captain Steenn Pasichnuk and Bandit defenceman Taylor Karel (Eagan, MN) led to both players’ ejections, the Pontiacs scored two power play goals; a Bobby McMann wrister from the slot, and a Zach Mills rebound shot from the side of the net, to take a 2-1 lead after 1.
In the second, both teams combined for 6 goals; 3 a side. Shane Bear (Calgary, AB) scored just 12 seconds in on a shot from the slot set up by former Pontiac Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB), but Mills replied just 11 seconds later on a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. Just over two minutes after that, Kyler Hehn tucked home a rebound to make it 4-2 Bonnyville and Brooks made its first goaltending change of the season as Troy Martyniuk (Winnipeg, MB) entered the Bandits crease.
Soon thereafter, Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) scored on a Bandit power play for his eighth man-advantage marker of the season, tying him for the league lead. But Mills scored his hat trick goal at 10:44 on a 2-on-1 rush set up by McMann to reclaim a two-goal lead, before McCrory scored on a turnover by goaltender Olivier Charest behind the net to Lodermeier, whose centering feed found the Bandit leading scorer in the slot to pull Brooks within 1 after the second.
In the third, Bonnyville extended its lead on a McMann breakaway goal which became the game-winner. Brooks got closer again when McCrory completed his hat trick with a rebound goal with 20 seconds left, but the Pontiacs held on for the narrow win.
Despite the loss, the Bandits remain in first place in the AJHL South with a game in hand on the Camrose Kodiaks, who lost to the Calgary Canucks tonight.
The Bandits will hit the road tomorrow night for a Saturday night game in Olds against the Grizzlys at 7 PM. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:45 PM on the home of the Bandits, Q105.7.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #21 Dylan McCrory
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #12 Jesse Baird