BROOKS, AB (MARCH 25, 2023) – Another 3rd period comeback fell just short for the Brooks Bandits, as the Okotoks Oilers held on for a 3-2 win on Saturday at the Centennial Regional Arena to even the series.
Brooks had a chance to tie the game in the 3rd period on an Aiden Fink (Calgary, AB) penalty shot that missed, and despite emptying the net for the extra attacker, couldn’t find the equalizer. Ethan Barwick (St. Albert, AB) made 28 saves, including 15 in the 1st period.
Prior to the game, the Bob and Wendy Crosby handed out the Nick Crosby Memorial Award to forward Heath Armstrong. The award is dedicated to former Bandit Nick Crosby, who passed away tragically in 2011. The award recognizes a player who exemplifies Nick’s greatest qualities of determination, hard work, perseverance and respect and love for the game.
Ethan Barwick was the difference in the 1st period, no goals were scored.
Okotoks opened the scoring at as Hunter Sawka scored off the rush at 3:03, beating Barwick five-hole to make it 1-0. But Brooks responded on the powerplay, as Fink tapped in a Hunter Wallace (Oak Lake, MB) backdoor pass to make it 1-1. However, Connor Gourley finished off a rebound at 15:27 to reclaim the Oilers lead to 2-1.
Fink’s penalty shot came in the 3rd, but just missed. Okotoks capitalized on a breakaway, as Ty Yoder scored to make it 3-1 at 14:00. Bandits forward Mikhail Simchuk (Kyiv, UA) one-timed an Aiden Celebrini (North Vancouver, BC) pass from behind the net to cut the Oilers lead to 3-2 at 15:19. Despite emptying in the net for the extra attacker, Brooks couldn’t tie.
Game 3 of the Best of Seven series is Tuesday, March 28th in Okotoks. Game time is 7:00 pm, listen to the Bandits broadcast on Real Country 105.7 FM.