Bandits sit atop junior B standings

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The Brantford Bandits are in unfamiliar territory.

Following the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s opening showcase weekend in Pelham, the junior B Bandits sit atop the league’s Mid-Western Conference standings.

Brantford started its season with a 4-1 win against the Golden Horseshoe Conference’s Fort Erie Meteors on Friday and finished the weekend with a 3-2 overtime win against the Western Conference’s Strathroy Rockets on Sunday.

During the past four regular seasons, Brantford has finished seventh out of eight teams.

Last season, the Bandits, who changed their name from the 99ers during the off-season, recorded their first win in their fifth game and didn’t get their second win until their 15th game on Nov. 3. Both wins were against Cambridge.

Against Fort Erie, Brantford jumped into a 2-0 lead in the second period with goals from Nathan Yeck and Gabe Costantini. After the Meteors trimmed the lead to 2-1 with an early third-period goal, Costantini got his second of the game and Chandler Romeo added a short-handed, empty-net goal to seal the victory. Ben Edwards earned the win in goal by stopping 31 shots.

Against Strathroy, Tanner Mitton scored a first-period power-play marker and Troy Allison added an even-strength tally to give Brantford a 2-0 lead. The Rockets tied the score with a pair of second-period goals. After a scoreless third, Shaun General won the game for the Bandits with his overtime marker at 4:38. Stephen Giasante picked up the win in goal for Brantford with 32 saves.

After accumulating 42 minutes in penalties in their first game, the Bandits got 10 more in the second contest.  They lead the MWC in that category but they’re also tied with the Listowel Cyclones, who are 2-0, for the fewest goals against, with three.

In addition to Costantini, Mitton, General and Edwards, Brantford features several other players with local connections, including Ben Feijo, Graham Sutcliffe and Brendan Anderson.

Brantford’s first home game of the season is Saturday at 7 p.m. at the civic centre against Brampton.


ONTARIO JUNIOR A HOCKEY LEAGUE

Brantford 99ers

The Brantford 99ers couldn’t have asked for a tougher opponent to start their season.

On Saturday, Brantford travelled to Oakville to play the Blades, the defending league champions and semifinalists at the national championship. The 99ers lost 8-3.

Brantford found itself down 2-0 in the first period with 3:39 to play but goals from Liam Stevens and Jacob Ball evened the score at 2-2 going into the second.

But five Oakville goals — three on the power play — in the second proved too much to overcome for Brantford.

Brenden Anderson got a power-play goal in the third period for the 99ers, who were outshot 41-19.

Colton Incze started for Brantford, allowing seven goals on 26 shots. Christian Linton finished the game for the 99ers, allowing one goal on 15 shots in just over a period of play.

Brantford opens the home portion of its season on Thursday at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre with a 7:30 p.m. game against Oakville.


GREATER ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Golden Horseshoe Conference

Caledonia Corvairs

The Caledonia Corvairs made a solid return to action, splitting their weekend games at the GOJHL showcase tournament in Pelham.

Caledonia, which took last season off, lost 2-1 to the Mid-Western Conference’s Listowel Cyclones on Saturday before rebounding with a 4-3 overtime win versus the Sarnia Legionnaires on Sunday.

Listowel was the MWC’s top team at the end of the regular season last year while Sarnia was fourth in the tough Western Conference.

In its game against Listowel, Caledonia got a late second-period power-play goal from Eric Guest as its only offence. The Corvairs outshot the Cyclones 31-24 as Harrison Fleming took the loss in goal.

Ryan Wells scored a third-period power-play goal against Sarnia, sending the game to overtime where Wells scored his second of the game to give Caledonia the win.

Henry Scott and Marino Moro also scored for the Corvairs, as goaltender Nick Clay picked up the win.

Caledonia outshot Sarnia 48-23.


PROVINCIAL JUNIOR A HOCKEY LEAGUE

All five local PJHL teams open the regular season this week after varying degrees of success in the pre-season.

In Doherty Division play, the Burford Bulldogs picked up five points in three games with two wins and an overtime loss.

The Paris Mounties got a single point with a tie in two games while the Delhi Travellers lost their only game of the pre-season.

Over in the Bloomfield Division, Port Dover won a game and lost four while Hagersville lost once in regulation and once in overtime.


GREATER METRO JUNIOR A HOCKEY LEAGUE

St. George Ravens

The St. George Ravens will get their first taste of GMHL regular-season action this week.

St. George is scheduled to play two home games this week, on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Kingsville and on Sunday at 3 p.m. against Toronto.

Both games take place at the South Dumfries Community Centre in St. George.

The Ravens made the league final last season, losing to Ville-Marie in the championship.


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