Bandits clinch first in South Division and first-round bye following 6-2 win over Thunder

Photo: Matt Vossepoel

BROOKS AB (February 3, 2023) – The Brooks Bandits have clinched 1st place in the AJHL’s South Division following a 6-2 win over the Drayton Valley Thunder on Friday at the Centennial Regional Arena.

The win guarantees the Bandits (43-5-2) will have a first-round bye in the AJHL Playoffs. Brooks scored two goals each period in Friday’s contest, two from Brendan Poshak, while Elliot Dutil, Tyler Blocha, Danylo Korzhyletskyi and Dominick Campione all found the back of the net.

Dutil (Montreal, QC) opened the scoring at 5:37 of the 1st period on a Thunder turnover, as Mikhail Simchuk (Kyiv, UK) set him up for a one-timer to make it 1-0 Brooks. The Bandits doubled the lead at 7:41 as Poshak (Green Bay, WI) roofed a net front shot to make it 2-0.

Brooks tripled the lead to 3-0 at 9:22 of the 2nd period, as Poshak drove to the net and tapped in a Dario Beljo (Sudbury, ON) pass. The Thunder would get one back at 17:59 on the powerplay, as Cody Pisarcyzk scored from the right circle to make it 3-1. But with 57 seconds left in the period, Beljo shot from the right point, with Blocha (Bonnyville, AB) tipping home the chance to make it 4-1.

The Bandits increased the lead to 5-1 at 8:25 as Korzhyletskyi (Kyiv, UK) forced a Thunder turnover and roofed an unassisted shot. Campione (Kolher,WI) hammered a slap shot from the right point at 9:30 to increase the lead to 6-1. Drayton Valley got one back at 15:37 on a one-timer from Daniel Kernaghan to make it 6-2, but that would be as close as they got. Final shots were 47-19 Brooks.

The Bandits host the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday, February 4th, game time is 7:00 pm.