OKOTOKS, AB (April 2, 2023) – The Brooks Bandits are going to their 10th consecutive AJHL South Division Final following a 3-1 series clinching win over the Okotoks Oilers in Game 6 at the Centennial Arena on Sunday.
Ethan Barwick (St. Albert, AB) made 21 saves, while Brooks built a three-goal advantage thanks to Caelan Fitzpatrick, Brendan Poshak and Aiden Fink and never gave up the lead. The Brooks penalty kill went 3/3 in the game, and 25/26 in the series.
The Bandits win the Best-of-Seven South Division Semi-Final 4-2.
The Bandits will host the AJHL South Final with Game 1 on Friday, April 7th at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks. Tickets will be on sale early this week.
Fitzpatrick (Moose Jaw, SK) opened the scoring 5:25 into the game, scoring top shelf on a breakaway pass from linemate Heath Armstrong (Calgary, AB) to make it 1-0. Fitzpatrick opened the scoring in three of the six games in the series. The Bandits doubled the lead to 2-0 at 11:18, as Poshak (Green Bay, WI) drove the Oiler net, tapping in a Hudson Malinoski (Saskatoon, SK) pass into Parker Sawka’s net.
Brooks extended the lead to 3-0 at the 13:59 of the 2nd period, as Fink (Calgary, AB) worked the give-and-go with linemate Hunter Wallace (Oak Lake, MB) and scored off the rush.
The Oilers ended Barwick’s shutout bid at 10:58 of the 3rd period, as defenceman Kade Turner roofed a shot to cut the lead to 3-1. Despite Okotoks pulling Sawka for the extra attacker with over two minutes remaining, they couldn’t get any closer as the Bandits shut it down.
Their opponent is still to be determined; it will be the winner of the Blackfalds Bulldogs/Drumheller Dragons series, which is tied 3-3. Game 7 of that series is Tuesday in Blackfalds.