Sweet 16 Straight as Bandits Beat Saints

BROOKS, AB (January 27, 2017) – The Brooks Bandits (38-3-4) registered their 16th consecutive win to tie the 3rd-longest streak in franchise history and the 7th-longest in Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) history, with a 4-1 win over the host Spruce Grove Saints at the Grant Fuhr Arena on Friday night.

Oliver Chau (Oakville, ON) also tied the franchise record for power play goals in the game, registering his 17th and placing his name next to Curtis Glencross, who achieved the same total in 2001-02.

The highly entertaining but tight-checking game produced no goals over the course of the first two periods, despite a 3-0 Bandit power play advantage in the first and a 2-1 Spruce Grove advantage in the second. When the second period buzzer sounded, Nolan Kent had stopped 20 shots for Spruce Grove while Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) had stopped 23.

The scoring finally began in the third, however, as rare mistakes by both teams finally lead to opportunities. The first was a Bandit mistake, allowing a 2-on-1 rush for the Saints that led to a pass to Josh Harris at the left wing circle, whose quick wrist shot beat Benson for a 1-0 Saints lead 1:17 into the period. It was only the 10th time in 45 games this season that the Bandits have allowed the opening goal.

But Brooks battled back quickly, tying the game just over a minute later when former Saint Parker Huebner (Leduc, AB) flung a pass from the left corner to Nic Hamre (Ottawa, ON) at the left side of the Saints net, whose quick one time shot snuck through Kent to knot the score up.

The score remained tied with overtime looming until another key mistake led to the game winning goal. A pass from behind the net by a Saint under pressure by Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) came straight to the stick of Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB), who quickly cut in front of the Saints net and jammed a point blank backhander past Kent to give Brooks the 2-1 advantage.

Soon after Brooks took the lead, an undisciplined Spruce Grove slashing penalty led to a late Brooks power play, and a rebound goal by Chau to tie the franchise power play goal record gave Brooks a vital 3-1 cushion.

With the Saints forced to pull their goalie early, the Bandits sprung Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) on a breakaway on the empty net, and his goal with 1:37 left sealed the deal for Brooks’ 16th consecutive win.

Benson made 32 saves on 33 shots while Kent finished with 28 saves on 31 Bandit tries.

Brooks will seek its 17th straight win tomorrow night in Drayton Valley against the Thunder, with the potential to not only pad divisional and league standings leads, but also tie for the 6th-longest winning streak in the history of the AJHL, alongside last year’s Bandit team which also won 17 straight.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM with pre-game coverage at 7:15 on Real Country 105.7.