OKOTOKS, AB (March 30, 2018) – Two first period goals were the difference on Friday night, as the Brooks Bandits fell 4-1 to the host Okotoks Oilers in Game 1 of the AJHL South Final.
The Bandits were outshot by a narrow 32-28 margin in the game in front of a near-capacity crowd of 1,909.
Okotoks opened the scoring 12:31 into the game on an odd bounce off an odd-man rush. Zane Kindrachuk’s pass to Marc Pasemko bounced off the Oiler forward and deflected by Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) to make it 1-0 Oilers.
The Oilers got the eventual game-winning goal with only 6 seconds left in the frame, when a right circle shot by Quinn Olson skipped off the glove of a standing Benson and was tapped home from the right side of the net by Kyle Gordon.
Brooks got on the board just under halfway through the 2nd on their first power play of the game, when Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) fired a pass from behind the net to Conner Jean (Oakland, MI), who one-timed it between the pads of Oiler goalie Riley Morris to get the visitors on the board.
But soon after, the Oilers were put on two consecutive power plays, giving them four man advantages out of the first five awarded. The fourth was the charm for the home side, as Nick Blankenburg wristed home a goal from the slot to reclaim a two-goal lead for the Oilers.
In the third, despite two straight early power plays, the Bandits couldn’t solve Morris, and off a defensive zone draw Tanner Laderoute poked a puck free and skated in on an empty Bandit net; he was tripped up on the play and the goal was awarded automatically to notch the 4-1 final for Okotoks.
The two teams meet again on Saturday night for Game 2 at 7:00 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 6:30 PM on Real Country 105.7.