BROOKS, AB – Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB) tied the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) record for most shutouts in a single post-season, notching his fourth of the playoffs in just his sixth game, as he stopped all 16 shots he faced in a 4-0 Brooks Bandits win over the Camrose Kodiaks in Game 2 of the AJHL South Division Final on Saturday night.
With the win, in front of 1,649 fans at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks, the Bandits take a 2 games to none lead in the best of seven series, which will shift to Camrose for games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday nights.
A strong start by the Kodiaks saw Camrose take a 4-0 shot lead just under eight minutes into the game. But Brooks would respond with the next 11 consecutive shots, scoring at the 9:53 mark when captain Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN) took a hard hit in the corner, but popped back up, corralled the puck, drew a tripping penalty, and nonetheless one-handed a shot on goal. The rebound bounced to Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) in the slot, whose quick shot slipped past goalie Patrick Gora for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Bandits converted on a subsequent power play at the 16:20 mark when Shane Bear (Calgary, AB) fed a pass from the high slot to Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) at the right side of the Camrose net. His quick return pass to Bear in the slot missed the target, but rolled to a waiting Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) who was waiting right behind Bear. The eventual wrist shot beat Gora to make it 2-0 Bandits and give McCrory his team-leading fifth goal of the playoffs.
After outshooting the Kodiaks 12-6 in the first, the Bandits found themselves on the penalty kill five times in the second period, but only allowed 7 shots, outshooting Camrose 12-7 in a scoreless middle frame.
In the third, the Bandits turned on the jets, outshooting Camrose 22-3 and adding two more goals. The first came just after defenceman Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB) was assessed a double minor penalty for spearing. Just seconds into the Camrose power play, Malott sped into the offensive zone and flung a puck in front to a waiting Lodermeier, who cut in on a shorthanded breakaway and fired the puck between Gora’s pads to make it 3-0 Brooks.
The final goal came as the Kodiaks took five penalties in the final 1:20 of the game to put the Bandits on an extended five on three. Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) tapped in his own rebound off of a sharp angle shot from the right side of the Kodiak net to notch the 4-0 final score.
The Bandits went 2 for 8 on the man advantage and a perfect 9 for 9 on the penalty kill. Gora stopped 42 of 46 Bandit shots while Hughson’s perfect night on 16 saves was the first time since 2006 that a goaltender has registered 4 post-season shutouts. Both prior times have been Camrose Kodiaks goalies; Mike Brodeur in 2003, and David Thompson in 2006.
Game 3 will take place Monday night at Encana Arena in Camrose, a rink in which the Bandits have not won this season; their only win in Camrose came on the team’s retro night at its old home, the Max McLean Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:45 on Q105.7.