BROOKS, AB (October 1, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (4-2-2) held a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes, and held the Sherwood Park Crusaders (4-4) to just 7 shots on goal in the first two periods. But a three-goal third and shootout winner from Alex Rotundo gave Sherwood Park a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Bandits to cap off the AJHL Showcase on Saturday afternoon.
An early Sherwood Park power play led to the Crusaders’ first goal when Matt Dykstra’s shot from the right circle beat Bandits starting goalie Tony Rehm (Sun Prairie, WI) to make it 1-0.
But just over a minute later, Ocean Wiesblatt (Calgary, AB) recorded his first Junior A goal in just his second Junior A game, jamming a rebound past goalie Zac Klassen from the left side of the net to tie the game up.
Just seconds later, Wiesblatt set up the Bandits’ second goal, when his mid-air cross-ice pass was batted into the net by Tyler Carangelo (Hamden, CT) for his first Junior A goal and a 2-1 Brooks lead.
Before the period was done, Brooks added to the lead on a Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) slap shot from the high slot for a 3-1 Bandit advantage.
After outshooting Sherwood Park 10-4 in the first, the Bandits registered an even more significant shot lead, 15-3, in a scoreless second period.
But the third period told a different story, as the Crusaders outshot the Bandits 15-6 and sent the game to overtime. At the 7:26 mark, Crusader forward Alex Rotundo carried in on a 1-on-2 shorthanded rush, but nonetheless managed to cut to the slot and wire a shot past Rehm to pull Sherwood Park within one.
Then, Tyler Maltby scored in similar fashion at 13:13, barreling to the slot, getting tripped, yet getting a desperation shot away that found the Bandits net to make it 3-3.
At 16:24, Wiesblatt potted his second goal of the game to give Brooks the lead again. The game nearly got out of reach for the Crusaders when Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) fired a shot at an empty Crusader net from the Sherwood Park blue line. But the shot rang the right post, and the Crusaders stayed alive.
After a late Bandit penalty, Maltby notched his second goal of the afternoon on a quick power play rebound opportunity to knot the game at 4-4 and send it to overtime.
The two teams traded opportunities in the extra frame, with the Bandits needing to kill off a 2-minute 4-on-3 Sherwood Park power play late in the frame to get a chance in the shootout.
After both Parker Huebner (Leduc, AB) and Tanner Younghans were stopped in the first round, Sherwood Park took advantage in round two when Austin Wright (Niagara Falls, ON) was stopped, but Tyler Maltby scored to put Brooks on their heels.
But Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) went post and in to extend the shootout, before Rotundo came in and fired the game-winner five hole on Rehm to give Sherwood Park the extra point.
The Bandits are back in action at home Wednesday night, hosting the Olds Grizzlys for the team’s latest Wild Wednesday promotion, with tickets and beer at half-price, merchandise discounts, and more. Tickets are available at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.