By Russ Ullyot
Courtesy of Crag and Canyon – Sun Media
It was seventh heaven for the Brooks Bandits in Alberta Junior Hockey League action Saturday night in Canmore.
The Bandits scored seven goals en route to their eighth consecutive win and 22nd victory of the season in dismantling the hometown Canmore Eagles 7-2.
Playing before 320 hostile fans, the Bandits rose to the occasion early and after enduring a second-period stretch that could have turned the game around for the Eagles pulled away for the lopsided win.
Anthony Paskaruk scored twice for Brooks, with singles from Jeff Malott, Shane Switzer, Shane Bear, Chase Clayton and Derek Lodermeier.
Brooks’ league-leading scorer Austin Plevy recorded three assists on Saturday. He was coming off a four-goal game on Friday, giving him 20 on the season, including the overtime winner in a 5-4 win over the Drayton Valley Thunder. He now has 49 points, which includes 29 assists.
Both Canmore goals came on the power play from Matt Forchuk.
Ryan Ferguson once again had to endure the entire game, facing 31 shots, with more than half being good scoring chances.
Brooks goaltender Michael Fredrick faced just 15 shots, including only one in the final period, which came in the last-minute of play.
Brooks took advantage of a tired Canmore defensive corps on Saturday night. The team only had five defence available for the contest, including newcomer Deryk Sutherland.
“(Brooks) was smart, they took us to the outside tonight a lot. You could see on a couple of their goals our defence looked gassed,” head coach Andrew Milne said.
“We have played a lot of hockey with only a few guys.”
Malott opened the scoring at 7:11 during a scramble in front of goal.
Forchuk tied the game at 1-1 on the power play, circling from left wing to right behind the Brooks goal, he threw the puck at the goal with it deflecting off the Fredrick into the net. It was just his fourth of the season and came at 14:09.
Drawing assists on the play were Logan Ferguson and Lane Olson, with the forwards receiving rare assignments along the blue line due to the lack of blue line depth.
The Bandits regained the lead with 1:48 to play in the period, when he fired the puck from the right wing side over a prone Ryan Ferguson, who was diving out in attempt to make the save.
Bear then made it 3-1 with 1:03 to play on a wrap-around from right wing to left that tucked in the short and stick side of goal.
The Olson-Logan Ferguson pairing made a return in the second period on the second power play of the game early in the second period. The result was another goal by Forchuk, who slapped the puck home from down near the goal line off Fredrick’s right post at 2:48.
It was a pretty dominant opening 12 minutes of the middle frame by the Eagles, who had more than enough good scoring chances to take the lead only to find themselves trailing even further behind at period’s end.
Fifth-year Bandit Paskaruk. skated from his own blue line down the right wing and lifted the puck over Ryan Ferguson’s right shoulder as the goaltender went to his knees to cover the lower half of the goal, giving the Bandits a 4-2 lead at 12:21.
Clayton gave the Bandits a three-goal lead with 1:11 to play when he stickhandled across the front of goal and slid the puck under Ryan Ferguson.
It took just 19 seconds of the third period for the Bandits to put their stamp on this game. Off the opening puck drop, Lodermeier retrieved the puck deep in his own zone and then skated the length of the ice sweeping right to left in front of the Eagles goaltender and slipping the puck into the unguarded side of goal.
Driving to the net was a constant theme for the Bandits. They took a 7-2 lead when Paskaruk scored his second when he skated down the right wing and then to the front of the goal before beating Ferguson with a low far side shot at 7:20.
Sutherland endured himself with the hometown fans when he tangled with Brooks’ Nick Prkusic at 7:46, with both earning fighting majors.
Canmore is now at 13 wins, 16 losses and one shootout defeat as they reached the halfway mark in sixth place in the South Division.
Brooks is now 22-6-1, third in the South but just three points back of the first-place Camrose Kodiaks (23-3-2), 4-2 winners over the Drumheller Dragons.
The Eagles head out on the road with games in Grande Prairie on Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sherwood Park on Sunday, Dec. 7.
EAGLES NEST: Adam Marcoux was the backup goaltender for the Eagles, where the injury list includes G Levi Nelson, D Nikolas Kosman, Jakob Lavie, Brent Schimmel, and F Brett Radford. … Mumby and Ryley Rislling, along with head coach Andrew Milne, head to Calgary next weekend and will miss the road trip to attend the Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A challenge to be held in Kindersley, Sask., the third week of December.
BANDITS 7 at EAGLES 2
Saturday, Nov. 29 at Canmore
1. Brooks: Malott (5) (Lodermeier, Baughman) 7:11
2. Canmore: Frochuk (4) (Olson, L. Ferguson) 14:09 PP
3. Brooks: Switzer (4) (Plevy, Nachtigall) 18:12
4. Brooks: Bear (1) (Logan, Dunn) 18:57
PENALTIES – Cockreil Bro (hooking) 13:17.
5. Canmore: Forchuk 2 (5) (Olson, L. Ferguson) 2:48 PP
6. Brooks: Paskaruk (2) 12:21
7. Brooks: Clayton (12) (Marchand, Plevy) 18:49
PENALTIES – Clayton Bro (roughing) 1:47; Brooks bench minor (too many men) 9:24.
8. Brooks: Lodermeier (4) (Malott, Baird) 00:19
9. Brooks: Paskaruk 2 (3) (Plevy, Bear) 7:20 PP
PENALTIES – Roberts Bro (charging) 3:24; Biccum Can (holding) 6:32; Prkusic Bro, Sutherland Can (fighting major, game misconduct) 7:46; Mumby Can (slashing) 13:46.
Shots on goal by:
Brooks 16 5 10 — 31
Canmore 6 8 1 — 15
Goaltenders: Canmore – R. Ferguson (11-16); Brooks – Fredrick (9-4).
Power Plays: Canmore 2 for 4; Brooks 1 for 2.
Referee: Harris; Linesmen: Belagus, Moss.