BROOKS, AB – Kord Pankewicz (Drayton Valley, AB) had a season high 2 goals and 1 assist, as the Brooks Bandits (43-4-4) tied the 2013-14 Bandits team for the 4th-most wins in franchise history, downing the Drumheller Dragons 6-0 on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 1,447 at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks.
Goaltender Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) stopped all 23 shots he faced for his sixth shutout with Brooks, as the team set a new franchise record for shutouts in a season with 9, breaking the prior mark set by the 2012-13 team.
The win also reduced the Bandits’ magic number to clinch first overall in the AJHL to 4 wins, or 8 points, in their 9 remaining games.
Coming off of an 11-1 win in Drumheller the night before, the Bandits opened the scoring just 3:59 in as Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) centered a puck from the end boards to Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) in the slot, for a one-timer goal and a 1-0 Bandit advantage. In Mappin’s first game back after a 3-game suspension for an alleged spear in Calgary, number 37 set a new career high in assists on the play with his 51st of the season.
Late in the first, with just 3:58 left, Pankewicz scored his first of the night on a wrist shot from the right circle on a power play to give the Bandits a 2-0 lead and extend their streak of games with at least one power play goal to 18.
Seconds after the Pankewicz goal, tempers flared as players began to jostle at the front of the Bandits bench. The scrum ended with Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) dropping the gloves with Drumheller’s Gage Misskey, in a brief fight in which O’Connor landed several right hands before the linesmen jumped in.
On the ensuing shift, Drumheller forward Cody Young dropped his gloves and began punching Bandit defenceman Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI), and was assessed a roughing minor.
In the second, Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) extended the Bandit lead at the 13:29 mark, sweeping the puck in on a wraparound after a breakaway shot from the left circle had been stopped by Drumheller goalie Hunter Virostek.
In the third, 8:47 in, a Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN) pass deflected off of a Drumheller skate in the offensive zone, but came back to a trailing Vincenzo Renda (Montreal, PQ), who fired in his first goal as a Bandit from the right side of the slot.
Just under four minutes later, Renda set up the fifth Bandits goal, backhanding a puck from the left corner to the slot where linemate and fellow defenceman-turned-forward David D’Agostino (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) one-timed a high slapshot past Virostek.
The final goal came with exactly three minutes left as Pankewicz, at the blue line, collected a pass from the right corner from Ty Mappin, skated to the right circle and fired a quick wrister past Virostek for his second of the game.
The Bandits next hit the road to take on the Okotoks Oilers at 7 o’clock on Friday night, before returning home to take on the Calgary Mustangs at 7:00 PM on Saturday.