Kodiaks snap 11-game skid
Camrose Kodiaks forward Carson Welke snaps a shot past Brooks Bandits goalie Mitchel Benson to open the scoring in AJHL action on Friday night in Camrose. The Kodiaks won 3-2. Sean Mascaluk/Pro Sports Photography
Kodiaks 3, Bandits 2
The streak is over.
For the first time in a month the Camrose Kodiaks have added to the win column. They beat the Brooks Bandits 3-2 on Friday night in Camrose, snapping a franchise record 11-game losing skid. The last time the Kodiaks won was a 5-4 win over the Olds Grizzlys on Oct. 3 in Camrose.
Carson Welke, Zach Vinnell and Brock Bremer scored for Camrose (5-10-5) while Griffin Bowerman made 35 saves for his second win of the season.
Simon Boyko and Arnaud Vachon replied for Brooks (15-6-1) while Mitchel Benson made 27 saves in the loss.
"That's how big it is when we cut a goal a game off," said head coach and general manager Boris Rybalka. "They see the success of buying in and now we want to continue that."
This was arguably the Kodiaks most complete game of the year. During their 11-game slide there were only a couple of games where they were flat outplayed. Most of them were one-goal games and of those the Kodiaks were generally the better team for most of the game. It was the one or two minutes where they would let up that killed them game in and game out.
It almost happened on Friday night again, but they managed to hold on.
They entered the third period with a 3-1 lead, but Vachon scored 29 seconds into the frame and the pressure kept coming for the next couple shifts. The Kodiaks, however, slowly took control back and held on for the rest of the game with strong defensive play, not giving the Bandits much to work with.
"They didn't panic when Brooks scored that second goal," said Rybalka. "The thing I really like about today's effort is they all bought in on the forecheck. You could see the guys talking to each other, telling each other where to go. In the D zone they were talking to players. That's that team unity. It wasn't about who's going to score … they bought into the team defence."
When the Kodiaks did have their break downs Bowerman shut the door. He played his best game as a Kodiak, making a number of good saves with the game on the line late.
"He was solid, he knew he was starting … we told him we had all the confidence in him," said Rybalka. "I thought he played well, he was solid … and well deserving of the win."
The Kodiaks are back at it Saturday night when they host the Drumheller Dragons (12-9-1) at 7 p.m. The Dragons are coming off a 5-3 loss to the Olds Grizzlys (6-15-1) on Friday.
"There's no easy days, we know Drumheller won't be happy," said Rybalka. "We just have to be smart and disciplined. They like to be physical, but our game is speed. If we play our style we'll be fine."