OKOTOKS, AB (November 17, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (21-2) ran their win streak to seven games, taking advantage of multiple second period power plays after two major penalties by their opponents, as they downed the Okotoks Oilers 5-2 at Pason Centennial Arena on Saturday night.
The Bandits extended their lead for first place in the AJHL to 2 points over Sherwood Park with 2 games in hand, despite dressing only five defencemen for the second straight game due to injury.
Okotoks opened the scoring when a point shot was tapped home by Marc Pasemko just 4:18 into the game. It was the fourth straight game in which Brooks has allowed the opening goal.
But at the 16:54 mark, Andrew Lucas (Alexandria, VA) fed a long pass from his own zone to a waiting Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON) at the Oiler line. He sped in on a breakaway and tucked a backhand shot past Okotoks goalie Nick Sanders to tie the game after the first.
But in the opening minute of the second, the Oilers got their own breakaway goal when Zane Kindrachuk beat Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) over the glove hand. But it would be the final blemish on Charleson’s night as he recorded his league-leading 18th win of the year.
Boyko tied the game at 3:07 when he cut to the slot and fired home a low wrister for his second of the game. Then, Oiler forward Austin Wong ran into Charleson and was called for goalie interference. On the ensuing power play, Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) spun home a backhand shot from the right side of the net for his league-leading 7th power play goal of the year and his 100th AJHL point to make it 3-2 Bandits.
A minute after that, Oiler forward Barrett Sheen ran over Charleson, less than two minutes after Wong had done the same thing. The play was called charging, which is an automatic major penalty when committed against a goalie, and led to Sheen’s ejection and a 5 minute power play for Brooks.
Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON) won a puck battle at the top of the crease and flipped home a close range goal at the 15:12 mark to get the Bandits on the board on the major power play. Then, on the very next shift, the Bandits carried in and completed a perfect three-way pass between Jakob Lee (Owen Sound, ON), William Lemay (Marieville, QC), and Simon Gravel (Boucherville, QC), with the latter finishing the play with a perfect backdoor one-timer from the right side of the net to make it 5-2.
Barely a minute after that goal, Wong was ejected from the game when he strode into a vulnerable Mack Hancock (Kingston, ON) at the end wall of the Okotoks zone and threw a shoulder-to-head hit, sending Hancock headfirst into the boards. Wong was assessed a major for charging and ejected from the game, though the Oilers killed off the power play.
In the third, Okotoks fired a flurry of chances on the Bandit net, outshooting Brooks 15-1 in the period. But Charleson was perfect, making more saves in the final frame than he had to make in the first and second combined, to preserve the 5-2 scoreline.
The Bandits will host Drayton Valley at the CRA on Wednesday at noon for a special School Day Game, aiming for an eighth consecutive win.