OKOTOKS, AB (February 24, 2023) – For the sixth time in team history, the Brooks Bandits are Regular Season Champions thanks to a 4-2 win over the Oilers on Friday at the Centennial Arena.
The Bandits (50-5-2) have clinched home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Goaltender Ethan Barwick made 23 saves for his 43rd win of the season, which ties the AJHL record for most wins in a season by a goaltender since the stat was recorded. It’s the sixth time the Bandits have won the Regular Season Championship.
Brooks opened the scoring at 4:57 of the 1st Period, as forward Aiden Fink (Calgary, AB) went top shelf on the powerplay to make it 1-0. But Okotoks tied the game at 8:41, as Jackson Rowland tipped a point shot. The Oilers took a 2-1 lead at 17:04, as Jagger Tapper cleaned up a loose puck in the crease. With 1:27 left in the period, Bandits forward Davide Patella (Laval, QC) tied the game 2-2, getting to a loose puck in the slot and sliding the puck into the net.
The 2nd period was scoreless, as Barwick (St. Albert, AB) made a pad save on Zeth Kindrachuk to deny a two-on-one Oilers rush.
After killing three straight penalties in the 3rd period, the Bandits were rewarded at 13:45, as forward Mikhail Simchuk pounced on a Hughie Hooker (Brandon, MB) rebound and scored to make it 3-2. Okotoks emptied the net, but with 48 seconds remaining, forward Brendan Poshak (Green Bay, WI) scored an empty netter to seal the 4-2 win. Shots were 27-25 Bandits.
The rematch goes Saturday, February 25th, at 7:00 pm. There will be a pregame awards ceremony, and the Cash Raffle $35,000 Grand Prize draw.