The Cambridge Redhawks defeated the Brantford Bandits 5-2 in Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) action on Sunday, October 8, 2023.
Both teams came out slowly to start the game, especially the Bandits who played the night before, losing 6-1 to Stratford on home ice. The Bandits couldn’t find their legs early, leading to an early powerplay for the Redhawks. Brantford found their legs quickly, playing well and killing off the penalty.
The Bandits found their offence immediately after the kill when forward David Bodzai capitalized on a turnover, broke down the wing and buried a shot top corner past Redhawks goalie Leland Gill for the early 1-0 lead. The early penalty and goal fired up the Bandits as they spent the next several minutes on the attack in the offensive zone.
The teams then traded chances through the middle stages of the opening period but with five minutes remaining Brantford was given their second powerplay of the period but was quickly negated when defenceman Gavin McAfee-Rankine was sent off for interference. The Redhawks capitalized when Jack D’Arcy was left all alone in the slot and ripped a shot past Bandits goalie Dylan Dewachter tying things at one.
The goal gave the Redhawks some momentum as they recorded five quality scoring chances over the last five minutes but the teams remained tied at one through the opening 20 minutes.
The Bandits and Redhawks came out to start the second stanza trading chances through the opening minute then the teams spent the next several minutes battling in the neutral zone before special teams took over.
The Bandits were given their third penalty of the game with 12 minutes left in the second but killed it off easily before heading back onto the powerplay. Before they could get anything going, the Redhawks were awarded a penalty shot after forward Jack MacDonald was hauled down on a partial break. MacDonald scored on the penalty shot, beating Dewachter five-hole to give his team a 2-1 lead.
After allowing the penalty shot goal, the Bandits continued to trade powerplays and penalty kills, stopping their momentum but with four minutes left, they went on the attack, pressuring to get the equalizer.
With 1:06 left in the period, Cambridge opened up a two-goal after an odd-man rush and a shot from the high slot that beat Dewachter. Cambridge held on to the 3-1 lead after two periods.
The Bandits started the final frame with consecutive powerplays but couldn’t muster any offence and it continued though the opening ten minutes. Brantford finally managed to get some offensive zone pressure in the back half of the period but still couldn’t beat Redhawks goalie Leland Gill.
The Redhawks withstood the Bandits pressure then increased their lead to 4-1 after another goal off the rush. Cambridge forward Jack Martin buried a rebound into an open net to give his team a three-goal advantage with less than five minutes in the game.
Martin added his second of the game three minutes later when he buried the puck into an empty net to ice the game as the Redhawks soared to the 5-2 victory.