OKOTOKS, AB (March 31, 2018) – Trailing 2-0 early in the third period, the Brooks Bandits stormed back with three unanswered goals, including two in the span of ten seconds in the final minute, to take a stunning a 3-2 victory over the Okotoks Oilers in Game 2 of the AJHL South Final on Saturday night, tying the series 1-1.
VIDEO: Dennis Cesana, Mack Hancock, and Jake Theis score back-to-back-to-back in the 3rd period in an incredible comeback to give the Bandits a 3-2 win in Game 2 of the #AJHL South Final! pic.twitter.com/A0wUJCudmY— Brooks Bandits (@BrooksBandits) April 1, 2018
Despite outshooting the Oilers 10-7 in the opening frame, a breakaway goal for Tanner Laderoute gave the home side the 1-0 advantage after one period. Brooks was outshot 11-7 in the second frame but goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) stood tall to keep the game a one-goal affair.
But Okotoks seemed poised to seal the game after an early third period goal just 13 seconds in, when Austin Wong tapped in a backdoor feed from Kyle Gordon on an odd man rush on the opening shift to make it 2-0 Oilers.
The comeback for Brooks was cued when captain Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) sped in on a power play rush and ripped a shot from the right circle past Okotoks goalie Riley Morris to get the Bandits on the board.
With the Bandit net empty and an offensive zone draw for Brooks, a faceoff win led to Luke Bast (Red Deer, AB) feeding Cesana at the left halfboards for a one-time shot that Mack Hancock (Kingston, ON) tipped home to tie the game with just 54 seconds left in regulation.
Overtime loomed, but only briefly, as right off the centre ice faceoff, Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, BC) deflected a puck to Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN), who sped by the Oiler defence and tucked a breakaway shot past a sprawling Morris for the dramatic game-winning goal. The Oilers pressed late but Brooks held on and tied the series 1-1, outshooting Okotoks 29-26 in the game.
The Bandits were 1 for 4 on their power play and a perfect 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.
Game 3 of the series is set for Monday night as the setting shifts to the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks. Tickets are available right now online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.