BROOKS, AB (April 8, 2018) – The Okotoks Oilers scored 3 goals in a less than four minute span in the second period on Sunday night, taking a 4-0 lead and holding on for a 4-2 win in Game 6 of the AJHL South Final over the Brooks Bandits, taking the series 4 games to 2.
The Oilers now advance to face the Spruce Grove Saints in the AJHL Final, while the Bandits will not participate in the league’s final playoff series for the first time in four years.
A strong early charge by Brooks led to some high-grade scoring chances that were turned away by Okotoks goalie Riley Morris. The breakthrough goal for the Oilers came at the 18:35 mark, when Jacob Bernard-Docker scored on a wrister from the slot off the rush to give Okotoks the 1-0 advantage. By then, the Bandits were already down a skater when Nolan Thompson (Calgary, AB) had to leave the game after taking a high blindside hit to the side of his helmet from Austin Wong, who was assessed a minor penalty for charging on the play, though the Bandits failed to convert on what was their only power play of the opening 59 minutes of the game.
In the second, Okotoks came out in firm control, outshooting the Bandits 9-0 in the opening 9 minutes of the period. Tanner Laderoute scored back to back goals at the 6:17 and 7:54 marks; the first an open tap in from the side of the net, the second a rebound goal from the right circle. Wong capped off their second period scoring with a right circle wrister on a 2-on-1 rush.
But Brooks began to claw back late in the period, with Cale List (Petawawa, ON) dangling his way through two Okotoks defenders to the left circle and feathering a pass through the slot to Will Garin (Mound, MN), who wristed the puck home to put the Bandits on the board at 11:50.
At the 14:24 mark, P.A. Martineau (Sherbrooke, PQ) spun and fired a shot from the right halfboards that caught the stick of Mack Hancock (Kingston, ON) at the net front and deflected in to make it a 4-2 game.
But it was as close as the Bandits would get, as the Oilers held Brooks to just 6 shots in the third period, securing the road win and series clincher. Morris made 25 saves on 27 shots for the win while Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) ended his stellar two-year Bandit career with 34 saves on 38 shots.
The Bandits would like to express their utmost thanks to the Brooks community, Bandit fans, team sponsors, volunteers, and everyone else who made the 2017-18 season possible. The team looks forward to welcoming the Bandit faithful back to the CRA for the 2018-19 campaign, in which the Bandits will host the RBC Cup national championship tournament.