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Bandits set to take on Libby for home-opener

After a month of playing teams on the road in the northwestern U.S. and Alberta, the Bandits are finally getting the chance to play in front of a home crowd this weekend.

After taking on the Libby Loggers in a double-header this past weekend, their American opponents will come up to the Great White North for a Saturday afternoon game at Confederation Park at 1 p.m. in Cranbrook.

"Last year, the opening weekend at home was lots of fun, we had a great time," said Tyler Thorn, a 16-year-old player with the Bandits. "It's just nice after a bunch of weekends in a row to stay home and sleep the night before in your own bed and be more prepared.

"It's just lots more fun when you play on your own field."

It's been a pair of close games between the two teams, with a 5-4 loss at a tournament in Kalispell, before winning 6-5 this past weekend in Libby.

"Now that we know we can compete with them," said Thorn, "we knew from the beginning because we lost that game in the first tournament 5-4 in the end, so after beating them, that just gives us way more confidence coming into this weekend, knowing we can beat these guys."

Head coach Paul Mrazek is expecting a good game between his team and the Loggers on their home field, as well as with the Glacier 'B' team, which the Bandits will play on Sunday in Whitefish.

"So hopefully, definitely looking for a split," said Mrazek. "The we're back down to Whitefish to play their 'B' team, instead of their 'A' team, who we beat in the Kalispell tournament, so looking for two wins out of that."

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