April 12, 2023 (BLACKFALDS, AB) – For the eighth time in team history, the Brooks Bandits will play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League Final after sweeping the Blackfalds Bulldogs in the South Division Final, following a 4-2 win in Game 4.
Forward Hunter Wallace (Oak Lake, MB) scored a hat trick in the series clinching game, which was played Wednesday night at the Eagle Builders Centre. The Bandits went 3/6 on the powerplay, and 3/3 on the penalty kill. Ethan Barwick (St. Albert, AB) made 20 saves in net, as the Bandits take the South Final 4 games to 0.
Blackfalds didn’t lead in the series until 5:13 of the 1st period, as defenceman Tyler Teasdale skated into the right circle and scored on a forehand shot to make it 1-0 Bulldogs. Wallace tied the game at 18:25 on the powerplay, tapping in a Dario Beljo (Sudbury, ON) pass to make it 1-1. Brooks dominated in shots 17-2.
Just 59 seconds into the 2nd, and on the powerplay, Wallace scored again on a Beljo pass in front of the net to give Brooks a 2-1 lead. However, the Bulldogs would tie it 2-2 at 9:19, as Jack Plandowski gained the Bandits zone and fired in a high shot. It remained tie until the second half of the 3rd period.
Fink reclaimed the lead at 13:00 of the 3rd, sniping a glove high shot from the right circle on the powerplay to make it 3-2. Blackfalds emptied the net for the extra attacker, but Wallace would complete the hat trick at 18:40, clearing the puck into the empty net. Final shots were 37-22 Brooks. This was the 15th time the Bandits have swept a playoff series in their history.
The Bandits will face the winner of the North Division Final, which the Spruce Grove Saints currently lead 3 games to 1 over the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
The six-time league champion Bandits have now qualified for the AJHL Final in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022 and 2023. This was the ninth South Division Championship for Brooks, previously winning in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022.
Ticket information for the AJHL Final games hosted by Brooks will be out in the coming days. Download the Bandits Official Mobile App for notifications and breaking news.