OLDS, AB (January 31, 2023) – The Brooks Bandits had eight different goal scorers and Wilson Maxfield made 25 saves in a 9-3 rout of the Olds Grizzlys at the Sportsplex on Tuesday.
Aiden Fink scored twice, while goals also came from Elliot Dutil, Tyler Blocha, Aaron Brown, Aiden Celebrini, Caelan Fitzpatrick, Mikhail Simchuk and Heath Armstrong as the Bandits (42-5-2) are one win away from clinching 1st overall in the AJHL’s South Division, which would earn them a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Dutil (Montreal, QC) opened the scoring at 5:04 of the 1st period, cleaning up a Blocha (Bonnyville, AB) shot to make it 1-0. The Bandits doubled the lead at 16:39, as Blocha one-timed a pass from defenceman Wes Turner (Granite Bay, CA), who was playing in his first game of the the 2022-23 Regular Season after coming back from injury. Olds got one back at 18:40, as Parker Konneke scored from the left circle to cut the lead to 2-1. But with just 20 seconds left in the frame, Brown (Belleville, ON) scored on a point shot to make it 3-1 Brooks.
Celebrini (North Vancouver, BC) sniped a shot from the blueline at 4:38 on the powerplay following an offensive zone faceoff to make it 4-1 Brooks. Fitzpatrick (Moose Jaw, SK) made it 5-1 at 10:03 on the powerplay, cleaning up a rebound off the glass that landed in front of the net. Simchuk (Kyiv, UK) kept the powerplay momentum going at 15:42, tapping in a Fink pass to make it 6-1 Brooks. Armstrong (Calgary, AB) tapped in a Blocha pass at 16:06 to make it 7-1. Then Fink (Calgary, AB) tipped an Ethan Beyer (Centennial, CO) shot at 17:07 to increase the Bandits lead to 8-1. Shots were 21-4 Brooks in the period.
Grizzlys defenceman Kyle Venneman tipped in a Ryder Many Grey Horses attempt at 6:00 to cut the lead to 8-2, but Fink would reclaim the Bandits seven-goal advantage at 8:35 on the powerplay, cleaning up a Dario Beljo (Sudbury, ON) attempt to make it 9-2. The Grizzlys scored one late to make it 9-3.
The Bandits powerplay went 3 for 4, while the penalty kill was a perfect 6 for 6. Brooks outshot Olds 50-28.
The Bandits are home for a pair of games this weekend, starting Friday, February 3rd, when they host the Drayton Valley Thunder. The Sherwood Park Crusaders visit on Saturday, February 4th, both games are at 7:00 pm at the Centennial Regional Arena.