BROOKS, AB (April 2, 2018) – Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) stole the show with 36 saves on Monday night, as the Brooks Bandits took a 2-games-to-1 series lead over the Okotoks Oilers with a 2-1 win in Game 3 of the AJHL South Final in front of a crowd of 1,688 at the Centennial Regional Arena.
The Bandits were buoyed by the return of star rookie defenceman Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton, ON) to the lineup, after having taken Game 2 of the series with a three-goal comeback in the final minutes in Okotoks.
Brooks opened the scoring 12:19 into the game when Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON) carried in on a 1-on-3 rush, yet fired a quick shot from the high slot that snuck in blocker side on goalie Riley Morris to put the Bandits up 1-0 for the first time in the series.
Later in the period on a power play, defenceman Nick Blankenburg beat Benson with a slapshot from the left circle, but was denied by the right post of the Brooks net.
Okotoks did break through on a power play in the second, though, when Jacob Bernard-Docker fired a long wrister through a screen to knot the game up at 1-1.
But after another Oiler power play, Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) exited the penalty box, accepted a long stretch pass from Jakob LaPointe (Leduc, AB), sped into the left circle and fired another wrister past Morris on the blocker side to notch the 2-1 final score and game-winning goal.
Despite being outshot 8-3 in the third period and 37-20 in the game, the Bandits held on for the dramatic Game 3 win.
Game 4 of the series is Tuesday night again at the CRA with Okotoks having a chance to tie, and Brooks having the chance to put the AJHL’s number one regular season team on the brink of elimination. Tickets are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.