BROOKS, AB (March 31, 2023) – The Brooks Bandits are one win away from the South Final following a 4-2 victory over the Okotoks Oilers in Game 5 in front of 1,886 fans.
The Bandits jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the 1st period thanks to goals from Heath Armstrong, Tyler Blocha, Hudson Malinoski and Nathan Free. Goaltender Ethan Barwick (St. Albert, AB) starred in net with 19 saves. The Brooks penalty kill went 8/8.
The Bandits lead the Best-of-Seven series 3-2, with a chance to win the series on Sunday in Okotoks.
The Bandits opened the scoring at 3:05, as Armstrong (Calgary, AB) was wide-open in front of the Oilers net, sliding a Brendan Poshak (Green Bay, WI) pass five-hole on goaltender Parker Sawka to make it 1-0 Brooks. The Bandits doubled the lead to 2-0 at 10:20 as Tyler Blocha (Bonnyville, AB) tapped in a Danylo Korzhyletskyi (Kyiv, UA) pass from the corner. The Bandits tripled the lead to 3-0 at 13:32 on the powerplay, as Hudson Malinoski (Saskatoon, SK) tipped a Poshak shot. Then with 24 seconds remaining in the frame, Free (Calgary, AB) sniped a two-on-one chance with his first of the playoffs to make it 4-0.
The Oilers had multiple chances to get on the board in the 2nd period, but breakaway attempts from Connor Gourley and Sam Huck were denied by Barwick. The Bandits also killed off four straight penalties in the period.
Okotoks got on the board at 7:04 of the 3rd period, as Dean Spak scored shortside to spoil Barwick’s shutout bid. Brett Huxley cleaned up a loose puck at 14:50 to cut the Bandits lead to 4-2, but despite Okotoks emptying the net, the Bandits wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
Game 6 of the South Division Semi-Final is Sunday, April 2nd in Okotoks. Game time is 7:00 pm. Listen to the Bandits broadcast on Real Country 105.7 FM.