CANMORE, AB (March 22, 2022) – TJ Hughes had four goals, Ethan Barwick made 22 saves and the Brooks Bandits powered their way to a 9-2 blowout of the Canmore Eagles on Tuesday at the Recreation Centre.
The Bandits lead the Best-of-Seven South Division Semi-Final three games to none, with a chance to clinch the series on Wednesday in Canmore.
Hughes (Michigan) opened the scoring 4:19 into the game, waiting out Canmore starter Andreai Proctor-Ramirez and sliding in a forehand shot from the right circle to make it 1-0 Brooks. Shots in the 1st were 21-9 Bandits.
The majority of goals came in the 2nd, as forward Dario Beljo (AIC) cleaned up a rebound off a Zach Bookman (Merrimack) shot to make it 2-0. At 4:22, forward Aiden Fink (Wisconsin) cleaned up a loose puck off another Bookman try and scored to make it 3-0 Bandits. Soon after, Hughes scored his second, going backhand, forehand and tucking in the 4-0 goal at 4:43. Beljo sniped his second of the game top shelf at 10:16 to increase the lead to 5-0. Then, at 12:06, after Barwick stopped a Vincent Scott breakaway chance, Hughes completed the hat trick, backhanding and shelfing the 6-0 goal at 12:05. Not done yet, Hughes scored his fourth at 15:35, finishing off a behind-the-net pass from Ryan McAllister (Western Michigan), who had three assists in the game. Hughes scored from the left circle to make it 7-0. The AJHL record for most goals by one player in a single playoff game is five, which Hughes was one short of tying. Shots were 20-6 Bandits in the period.
Starting the 3rd on the powerplay, Bandits defenceman Josh Zinger (Northern Michigan) one-timed a Boston Buckberger (Wisconsin) pass from the left circle to make it 8-0 just 42 seconds into the frame. However, the Eagles would get a five-on-three powerplay and spoil Barwick’s shutout bid, as Riley Dekowny and Owen Jones found the back of the net, both from the left circle. However, with 1:48 left in the game and on the powerplay, Zinger scored again on a right circle top shelf shot to make it 9-2, the final. Shots were 19-10 in the 3rd, and 60-25 overall.
Postgame comments from #BrooksBandits forward TJ Hughes following his four-goal performance in Game 3 in Canmore!@umichhockey @TheAJHL pic.twitter.com/TDbz9M1lyO
— Brooks Bandits (@BrooksBandits) March 23, 2022
The Bandits can win the series on Wednesday (March 23) when they face the Eagles again in Canmore for Game 4. Puck drop is 7:00 pm, listen to the game on Real Country 105.7 FM.