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Wallace scores hat trick, Bandits blast Crusaders 9-1 in meeting of top two Alberta Division teams

BROOKS, AB (March 22, 2024) – The Brooks Bandits scored three goals in every period, routing the Sherwood Park Crusaders 9-1 on Friday at the Centennial Regional Arena.

Forward Hunter Wallace (Oak Lake, MB) scored a hat trick, forward Mirko Buttazzoni (Langley, BC) had four points, while goaltender Johnny Hicks (Kamloops, BC) made 21 saves for the Bandits. Brooks (54-5-1) is now 29-0 at home this season with two home games remaining.

Hicks made a key on a Noah Wills one-timer early in the 1st, and the Bandits rewarded him at 15:53. Forward Parker Lalonde (Aberdeen, SK) banged in a goal on the powerplay from the front of the net to make it 1-0. Forward Brock Souch (Edmonton, AB) won a board battle behind the Crusader net and set up a wide-open Nate Yellowaga (Calgary, AB), who scored on the forehand for his first ever Bandit goal in his first BCHL goal, making it 2-0 Brooks at 18:53. With 19 seconds left in the period, centre Caelan Fitzpatrick (Moose Jaw, SK) stretched a high pass to Wallace, who knocked it down and scored on a breakaway to make it 3-0.

The Crusaders lone goal came 13 seconds into the 2nd, as Hunter Price scored from the left circle to cut the lead to 3-1. But Sherwood Park took a bench minor, and the Bandits made them pay as Fitzpatrick scored forehand on the powerplay at 3:14, increasing the lead to 4-1. The next goal didn’t come until 17:18, as Buttazzoni tipped a Nathan Free (Calgary, AB) shot, that beat Sherwood Park goaltender Erick Roets high blocker to make it 5-1. The period wasn’t done yet, as Souch scored off the rush on a two-on-one against his former team to make it 6-1.

Wallace cleaned up a loose puck just 1:12 into the 3rd to increase the Bandits lead to 7-1. Free quickly made it 8-1 at 2:09, finishing off a two-on-one pass from Buttazzoni. Wallace sealed the 9-1 win by completing the hat trick at 13:23 on the powerplay, tapping a loose puck off an Ethan Beyer (Centennial, CO) wrist shot.

The Bandits powerplay went three for four, while the penalty kill was four for four. Final shots were 36-22 Brooks.

The Bandits return to the ice on Saturday, March 23rd when they host the Spruce Grove Saints. Game time is 7:00 pm at the Centennial Regional Arena.