BROOKS, AB (April 8, 2022) – The Brooks Bandits erased a 2-0 deficit and scored seven unanswered goals in a 7-2 triumph in Game 1 of the AJHL South Final.
TJ Hughes (Michigan) scored twice, Ethan Barwick made 15 saves, while Devin Phillips (Holy Cross) had a three point game as the Bandits lead the best-of-seven series 1-0. Game 2 is Saturday, April 9th at the Centennial Regional Arena, game time is 7:00 pm.
Brooks surrendered the game’s first goal for the first time of these playoffs, as forward Conyr Hellyr scored from the slot to make it 1-0 Oilers at 11:58, the period’s only goal despite Brooks outshooting Okotoks 10-2.
The 2nd period started with Brendan Boyle scoring on a forehand shot from the high slot to make it 2-0 Oilers just 29 seconds into the frame. But the Bandits would get a powerplay and capitalize, as Phillips hammered a one-timer from the right circle on a setup from Zach Bookman (Merrimack) at 1:14 to cut the deficit to 2-1. Just 42 seconds later, forward Hunter Wallace (RPI) cleaned up a loose puck on a try by Nic DeGraves and scored to tie the game 2-2. The Bandits first lead came at 3:35 as Hughes took a right circle pass from Phillips and scored on the backhand to give Brooks a 3-2 advantage. Forward Brendan Poshak (Northern Michigan) finished off a Dario Beljo (AIC) pass at 8:30 to double the lead to 4-2. Shots were 17-5 Bandits in the period.
Brooks forward Brendan Mairs increased the lead to 5-2 at 2:25, as Beljo forced an Oiler turnover in their own end and fed the puck to Mairs, who slid the puck past Oilers starter Jack McNaughton. Hughes would redirect another Phillips pass as he slid on the ice at 7:51 to make it 6-2, Hughes’ 9th of the playoffs in five games. Aiden Fink (Wisconsin) would finish things off at 14:15, taking a DeGraves pass backdoor and shelving it to make it 7-2, the final. Okotoks outshot Brooks 10-9 in the period, but the Bandits outshot the Oilers 36-17 overall.
Tickets for Game 2 are available at brooksbandits.ca.
Photo: Em Duncan