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Bandits fall to Warriors, down three games to one in series

Brantford BanditsBandits fall to Warriors, down three games to one in series

Stratford Warriors overcame a hard-working Brantford Bandits team to take a commanding three games to one series lead in their best-of-seven series on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

The Warriors came out flying to start the game, starting the scoring off the opening faceoff and taking a 1-0 lead just nine seconds into the game. The sluggish start seemed to fire up the home team and, after going down early, spent the next several minutes pressuring in the offensive zone in an effort to tie things at one.

Bandits F Blake Clayton battles for the puck in the neutral zone early in the first period against the Stratford Warriors on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Brantford then ran into penalty trouble after Will Bray was sent off for cross-checking but the Bandits killed it off then went back on the attack. Both teams traded several high quality scoring chances down the stretch but both goalies stood strong until the dying seconds of the period. Warriors forward Camden Daigle took advantage of a neutral zone turnover for a breakaway attempt, which he buried past Bandits G Lennart Neisse as the visitors took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

Bandits F Matthew Humphrey takes a run at Warriors F Michael Denney late in the first period.

Branford came out better to start the second stanza but their effort was negated by an early penalty kill just minutes into the period. The Bandits, once again, killed it off then went on their first powerplay of the game. Brantford spent most of the man advantage in the Warriors zone but couldn’t beat Warriors goalie Matthew Perdue. Shortly after the powerplay expired, the Bandits got on the board as defenceman Shayle Simons scored his first of the playoffs to cut the Warriors lead to 2-1. Stratford regained their two-goal advantage two minutes later, scoring a short-handed goal after a bad play at the offensive blueline by a Bandits defender.

Brantford didn’t let up, continuing to pressure and attack in the offensive zone and their hard work paid off less than a minute after going down 3-1. Bandits F Juan Agromayor buried a cross-ice pass at the side of the net for his second of the playoffs and getting his team back within one, 3-2. The Bandits continued to dominate most of the play, spending time in the Warriors zone down the stretch.

Bandits F Tyron Fevry chases after a loose puck early in the second period against the Stratford Warriors on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

With 4:48 remaining, the Bandits went on the penalty kill for the third time after forward Tyron Fevry was sent off for roughing. Brantford killed off the minor and Fevry came out of the box, took a stretch pass from Ezra Fischer, went in all alone and beat Perdue to knot things at three.

Brantford continued to pressure the Warriors and, with 36 second left in the second stanza, took their first lead of the game after defenceman Carter Merritt fired a wrist shot from the point that beat a screened Perdue as the home team had a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.

Bandits F Ezra Fischer fires a shot on goal late in the second period.

The Bandits started the final frame on their fourth penalty kill after Fevry was assessed a checking from behind minor and a game misconduct late in the second period. While the Bandits killed off the penalty, the momentum shifted in favour of the Warriors and they knotted things at four after their second breakaway goal of the game.

While the Bandits kept pressuring in an effort to score the go-ahead goal, it was the Warriors who found the back of the net to regain their first-period lead. Cole Lewis found the loose puck an tapped it past Neisse as the Warriors took a 5-4 lead with just under ten minutes to go.

Bandits G Lennart Neisse stops a wraparound attempt halfway through the third period against the Stratford Warriors on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

The Bandits then ran into more penalty trouble, getting called for seven penalties over the last five minutes, including two double minors, as the Warriors scored their first powerplay goal of the game late in the third period on their way to the 6-4 victory and 3-1 series lead.

The Bandits will now have to win three consecutive games against the second-seeded Warriors if they want to extend their 2024 run for the Sutherland Cup.

Alyssa Koert tries to hit the bullseye on Strodie the Cow and win a prize during second period action on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

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