Wolverines On The Brink After Loss to Brooks
The Brooks Bandits got a pair of goals from Josh McKechney on Monday night in Whitecourt to push the Bandits to within a win of capturing their second straight AJHL Championship as they now lead the final series 3-0 over the Wolverines.
Another game, another quick start for the Bandits. Just under three minutes into the first period, the Bandits opened the scoring after Nathan Plessis stepped around a Wolverine defender and slid a puck in front to McKechney who showed great hands and patience to get around Wolverine goalie Pierce Diamond to slide the puck home. Diamond settled right into the game following the goal as the Bandits continued their aggressive play generating chance after chance that was turned away. Coming out of the media timeout the Wolverines got in gear and after an aggressive forecheck by Ben Evanish, the Bandits turned the puck over in front of their own net to Evanish and he made no mistake tucking a backhand in behind goalie Mitch Benson to square the score at one. The Bandits ran into penalty trouble late in the frame and on a full two-minute two-man advantage, Colton Meekhof gave the Wolverines their first lead of the series as he took a pass from Mitch Lipon and snapped a shot top shelf.
The Bandits came out strong once again to start the second period and after Diamond kept them at bay for the first half of the period, Dennis Cesana got a point shot through a crowd of bodies and past Diamond to tie the game. A late period push by the Wolverines saw chances for Mitch Lipon and Liam Motley thwarted by Benson along with a goal post on a hot shot from Evan Tschumi so the teams entered the third period locked at two.
The game did not stay tied for long in the third period as again McKechney scored an early period goal, this one coming just over a minute into the final frame on a nice setup in front from Kord Pankewicz to give the Bandits the 3-2 lead. The Bandits remained on the attack for much of the period but Diamond continued his stellar play to keep his team within a goal. With under seven minutes to play, Lipon split through the Bandits defence to send himself in alone but a desperate Joe O’Connor was able to reach in and hook the hands of the Wolverine forward to prevent him from getting away a good shot. On the ensuing power play, the Wolverines could not cash in and saw time run out as they fell for a third straight game to the Bandits.
Game four of the AJHL Championship series goes Tuesday night at the Scott Safety Centre, puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.
Whitecourt Wolverines captain Joseph Nardi discusses his team’s play:
BB Goal – 2:53 – Josh McKechney(8) from Nathan Plessis (EV)
WCT Goal – 13:53 – Ben Evanish(1) unassisted (EV)
WCT Goal – 17:44 – Colton Meekhof(2) from Mitch Lipon and Nick Quillan (PP)
BB Goal – 10:29 – Dennis Cesana(6) from Jake Theis and Arnaud Vachon (EV)
BB Goal – 1:15 – Josh McKechney(9) from Kord Pankewicz and Conner Jean (EV)
Shots – WCT 24 (10-5-9) BB 39 (14-13-12)
Power Plays – WCT 1/4 BB 0/3
Attendance – 677
WCT – Pierce Diamond (11-8) 36sv/39sh
BB – Mitchel Benson (11-1) 22sv/24sh