BROOKS, AB (March 24, 2023) — Despite key late-period goals from Sam Huck (Calgary, AB) and Ty Yoder (Tofield, AB), the Okotoks Oilers couldn’t hold back a third-period charge from the host Brooks Bandits, who scored twice in the final frame to take a 3-2 decision on Friday night in Game 1 of the AJHL South Semifinal.
The Oilers trailed 1-0 in the first after Wes Turner fired in a wrist shot off the rush exactly 12 minutes into the game. But in the final minute of the frame, Huck tipped home a net front deflection set up by linemates Zeth Kindrachuk (Calgary, AB), and Conyr Hellyer (Okotoks, AB) for a 1-1 tie.
A scoreless and tightly played second featured one more late goal, a power play marker from Yoder with 12 seconds left in the frame, after a Huck shot missed but caromed off the end wall to the Oiler veteran who flipped the puck over a sprawling Ethan Barwick for a 2-1 lead. It was the first power play goal for Okotoks against Brooks on the season, snapping a 22 power play long streak without a goal.
But Brooks controlled the third, tying the game on a Hudson Malinoski wrister off the rush at 4:12, and then taking the lead off a faceoff play with 3:50 left, as Brendan Poshak put the puck in front directly off the draw, where Caelan Fitzpatrick was open to sneak home the third and final Brooks goal.
Brooks narrowly outshot Okotoks 25-22 in the game, with the Oilers going 1 for 6 on the power play and a perfect 4 for 4 on the penalty kill.
The teams will meet again Saturday night for the Game 2 rematch in Brooks at 7 PM. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 PM on The Eagle 100.9.