Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) scored the game-winning goal just 18 seconds in, as the Brooks Bandits won Game 1 of their Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) South Division Semi-Final playoff series with the Canmore Eagles 8-0 in front of just under 1,400 fans at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks on Friday night.
The Bandits scored twice in the first, four times in the second, and two more times in the third, as 14 of the team’s 18 skaters registered at least one point, while goaltender Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB) recorded his first career junior hockey playoff shutout, stopping all 18 shots he faced.
The Bandits outshot the Eagles 19-5 in both the first and second periods. In the first, McCrory’s goal on the opening shift came as he carried into the slot, out-waited goaltender Ryan Bontorin, cutting to the ride side of the net and firing in a quick wrist shot for a 1-0 Bandit lead.
After a productive but ultimately goal-less first Bandit power play, Brooks managed to double its lead when Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) collected a rebound of a Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON) shot and snuck it past Bontorin for a 2-0 Bandits advantage.
On that first Bandit power play, however, Canmore leading scorer Matt Forchuk left the game after taking a shot in the leg, and did not return.
In the second, the Bandits scored twice just 37 seconds apart. First, Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) tapped in a backdoor pass from the crease on a nifty setup by Shane Bear (Calgary, AB) from the right circle. Soon after, Mappin carried into the offensive zone and flung a puck to Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) in the right corner, whose quick centering feed found Logan Mick (Vernon, BC) at the top of the crease for a quick one-time goal and a 4-0 Brooks lead.
On a subsequent 5-on-3 power play, Prkusic wired home his second of the game on a slap-shot from the right circle, while Josh McKechney just under four minutes later snuck a shot in on the rush from the left-wing circle for the 6-0 advantage.
In the third, Pereira potted a rebound produced by a Prkusic shot at the 6:21 mark to make it 7-0, while a two-on-one rush in the final minute saw Welykholowa saucer a pass across to Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB), who cut in front and backhanded a puck past Bontorin to notch the 8-0 final score.
The two teams are back at it Saturday night for Game 2 of the series at the CRA. Game time is 7 PM with tickets available at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, or at the door, and pre-game radio coverage beginning at 6:45 PM on Q105.7.