BROOKS, AB (April 18, 2016) – Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) scored just 65 seconds into overtime, as the Brooks Bandits took a 2 games to 1 series lead in the 2016 Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) Final with a 2-1 win over the Spruce Grove Saints at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks on Monday night.
It was the third consecutive game in the series that ended regulation in a tie, providing the 1,813 fans in Brooks with a photo finish in the Bandits’ first home game in 15 days.
Spruce Grove opened the scoring at the 9:20 mark of the first period on their first power play of the game. Brandon Biro, who had scored the overtime winner in Game 2, corralled a puck at the right side of the Bandits’ net, and when his first shot was denied, rammed the rebound past Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB) for a 1-0 lead.
But the Bandits struck back at the 10:12 mark of the second when Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) sped into the Saints zone to the left circle and shot a quick wrister between the legs of a Saints defenceman, catching goalie Matthew Murray off guard as the puck snuck in short side to tie the game. For McCrory, it was his team-leading 9th goal of the post-season.
After a scoreless third period, the game did not take much in the overtime frame to be decided, though the ending was not without its share of controversy. After the puck was cleared out of the Bandits’ zone, a dump in attempt by the Saints appeared to ricochet off of the back of the skate of a still-offside Connor Lukan of the Saints.
No whistle came, however, and the Bandits re-collected the puck in their own end, firing a breakout pass to Foo who carried in on a low-percentage 1-on-2 rush. But both Saints defenceman backed off from the Bandit forward, whose wrist shot snuck low blocker on Murray for the dramatic win.
The two teams will do battle in Brooks again on Tuesday night for their fourth game in the last five nights. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM with tickets available online at tickets.brooksbandts.ca.