FORT McMURRAY, AB (January 28, 2022) – Ryan McAllister broke two team records, TJ Hughes scored a hat trick and Devin Phillips had six assists in a wild 10-5 win over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons at Centerfire Place on Friday.
The Bandits (42-4-1) have mathematically clinched 1st overall in the AJHL’s South Division and bye through the first round of the playoffs.
The Oil Barons scored just a minute into the game as forward Brandon Sachetti found a rebound off the end boards from a point shot and slipped it past Bandits goaltender Max Beckford to make it 1-0. But Brooks would tie at 2:10, as forward Ryan McAllister (Western Michigan) fired a shot from the high slot, which was tipped in by forward Dario Beljo to make it 1-1. At 5:32, McAllister broke the team record for most points in a season with 100th, one-timing a right circle shot from a pass from defenceman Boston Buckberger (Wisconsin) to give Brooks a 2-1 lead. McAllister is the first Bandit to register 100 points in a year, passing Jeff Marler (2000-01) and Matt Wilkins (2011-12), who each recorded 99 point seasons.
Fort McMurray tied the game 2-2 on the powerplay at 11:23 as forward Ryder Matter cleaned up a net front scramble. But Brooks would retake the led at 12:17, as Hughes (Mercyhurst) scored from the left circle on a left corner feed from McAllister. McAllister set a team record for most assists in a single season with 69, passing Ty Mappin’s record of 68 (2016-17). However, the Oil Barons tied the game 3-3 at 17:19, as Danny Ciccarello scored top left corner. With 61 seconds left in the period, Hughes scored again from the right circle to make it 4-3 Brooks. Shots in the 1st were 21-10.
The Bandits made it 5-3 at 10:45 as McAllister took a Wes Turner (Holy Cross) pass, skated up the left wing and burned past the defence, sliding the puck underneath Oil Barons starter Josh Nadler. Seconds later at 11:10, Fort McMurray got one back, as forward Max McCoy knocked in a net front scramble goal to cut the Bandit lead to 5-4. But at 13:10, Bandits forward Anthony Cipollone took a feed from Phillips, who then waited out Nadler and tucked in the goal to make it 6-4 Brooks. Hughes completed the hat trick with 17 seconds left in the period, one-timing a Phillips behind-the-net pass to increase the Bandits lead to 7-4. Brooks doubled Fort Mac in shots 20-10 in the period.
McAllister increased the lead to 8-4 at the 5:03 mark of the 3rd, splitting the defence, driving to the net, and finishing the play off for Phillips sixth assist of the game. Less than a minute later at 5:48, Bandits forward Heath Armstrong took a Nic DeGraves pass on a two-on-none rush and scored on a backhand shot for his first goal of the season to make it 9-4. Armstrong missed 26 games due to injury earlier this year. Oil Barons forward Nickolas De Beurs scored on the powerplay at 11:33 to cut the lead to 9-5, but with 52 seconds left and after two fights, Armstrong scored again to seal the 10-5 win in the final minute with a one-timer. Shots in the 3rd were 17-7 Brooks and 58-27 overall.
– Brooks Bandits (@BrooksBandits) January 29, 2022
It was the Bandits first game in Fort McMurray since November 15, 2019. Brooks has won 11 straight games vs the Oil Barons.
Brooks concludes their road trip on Saturday (Jan 29) when they visit the Bonnyville Pontiacs. Game time is 7:00 pm and can be heard on Real Country 105.7 FM.