Photo Credit - The Western Wheel:
OKOTOKS, AB – The Brooks Bandits got a 23-save shutout from goalie Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) and goals from William Lemay (Marieville, QC), Simon Gravel (Boucherville, QC), and Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON), en route to a 3-0 win over the Okotoks Oilers in Game 6 of the AJHL South Final on Sunday night.
With the win, the Bandits advance to the AJHL Final for the sixth time in franchise history, seeking their fifth league title in the last eight seasons.
Coming off a 3-2 home defeat on Friday night in Game 5, the Bandits had a furious start to the game, outshooting the home side Oilers 13-4 in the first twenty minutes. With just under four minutes left in the frame, a centering pass by Randy Hernandez (Miami, FL) in the right corner found a backdoor Lemay who one-timed in the eventual game-winning goal, beating goalie Brady Parker.
Off the ensuing centre ice faceoff, Gravel drove down the left boards and cut to the front of the Okotoks net. Hooked on the way there, a delayed penalty was coming up against the Oilers, but Gravel finished the play, tucking a low shot into the net to double the lead only 11 seconds after Lemay had established it.
With 4:03 gone in the second period, Boyko sped into the Okotoks zone, beating a defender and flipping a close range shot just inside the Okotoks post to make it 3-0. After a brief discussion among the officials, a good goal was ruled, giving Brooks the three goal margin.
Okotoks again saved its best for last, outshooting the Bandits 11-7 in the third period. But Charleson stood firm, preserving the shutout to give Brooks the 4-2 series win and a measure of revenge after the Bandits’ season ended in six games against the Oilers the previous year.
The Bandits will take on the North division champion Spruce Grove Saints in the 2019 AJHL Final, tentatively scheduled to begin Friday and Saturday nights in Brooks at the Centennial Regional Arena. Once the schedule is confirmed, tickets will be available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.