The Brooks Bandits only scored once early, but they scored often, launching 28 shots in a 4-goal second period, and adding 4 more in the third, en route to a 9-2 road win over the Camrose Kodiaks on Monday night and a 3-0 series lead in their best of seven Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) South Division final series.
The earliest portions of the game were highlighted by two spectacular saves by Bandit netminder Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB). On an early Kodiak power play, a pass from the top of the right circle from Tyler Morrison found Mackenzie Bauer wide open at the right side of the net; but his quick shot was robbed by a sprawling glove save. Some shifts later, a pass from behind the Bandit net from Paul Lovsin came to Cole McBride at the top of the crease, but his quick shot skipped off Hughson’s glove and wide.
The Bandits then opened the scoring when Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN) took the puck behind the Camrose net and tucked it out in front, with the puck richocheting off of Charlie Marchand (Calgary, AB) and over to Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) at the right post for a quick tap-in goal and a 1-0 Bandit lead.
Brooks outshot Camrose 13-10 in the first, but that paled in comparison to the 28-6 margin in the second, which resulted in 4 more Brooks goals.
First, a Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) centering feed from behind the net banked off of a Kodiak defender’s skate, and to Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) in the slot, who snapped a quick shot past goaltender Patrick Gora for a 2-0 lead.
Then, Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB) scored twice for Brooks in the span of just 1:38. First, he fired in a shot from the right circle on an odd-man rush, producing a 3-0 Bandit lead and a Camrose timeout. But the Kodiaks got into penalty trouble soon after, and Thompson sent a point shot through a screen on a power play to make it 4-0.
Camrose got on the board less than a minute after that on a Tanner Younghans net front tip on a power play, but Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) restored the 4-goal lead with a rebound goal at the 11:07 mark. McBride scored on a breakaway at 16:31 to pull Camrose back within three after the second period.
In the third, the Bandits pulled away for good, scoring twice in a 35 second span. Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) centered a puck from the behind the net to Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) at the top of the crease for another one-timer goal, and a subsequent Camrose turnover left Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) alone in the slot for a hard wrister and a 7-2 advantage.
At the 12:40 mark, Lodermeier tucked a puck behind the net to McCrory, who made a masterful spin move away from a defender, cut to the slot, and snapped a backhander into the top left corner for an 8-2 lead. Only 57 seconds later, on another Bandits power play, Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON) tipped home a Thompson point shot to notch the 9-2 final score.
The Bandits outshot Camrose 55-29 in the game, with Hughson making 27 saves for the win, and Gora 46 in the loss. Brooks went 3 for 9 on the power play while Camrose went 1 for 5.
The two teams meet for a Tuesday night Game 4 that could end the Kodiaks’ season and punch the Bandits’ ticket to the AJHL final. Puck drop is at 7:00 with radio coverage beginning at 6:45 PM on Q105.7.
Story by Tyler King