OKOTOKS, AB (April 3, 2017) – Trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, the Brooks Bandits scored five consecutive goals, downing the Okotoks Oilers 6-2 in Game 3 of the AJHL South Final and taking a 2 games to 1 lead in the best of seven series.
The Bandits outshot the Oilers 57-19, who received another stellar goaltending performance from starter Riley Morris, with the home side leading Brooks by a goal despite being outshot 34-14 after two periods.
Okotoks had the only goal of the first, a wrist shot from Jacob Bernard-Docker at the 9:43 mark from the left circle that caught the outstretched stick of a Bandit backchecker and rocketed top shelf past goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON).
The Bandits tied the game exactly 5 minutes into the second just after the expiry of their first power play; after a bevy of scintillating saves by Morris, a third chance rebound opportunity came to Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) at the right side of the Oiler net, and he hammered it home to make it 1-1.
But Okotoks retook the lead on a power play not long after, as Jordan Xavier fired home a slapshot through a screen at the 11:23 mark to make it 2-1 Oilers despite Brooks outshooting the home side 20-6 in the middle frame.
But the Bandits took complete control in the third en route to the dominant win. First, Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) tied the game on a slap shot from the middle of the Oiler blue line at 4:53 that went post-and-in. Just over three minutes later, a Charlie Marchand (Calgary, AB) shot from the right circle beat Morris, bouncing off the back netting and back out to the crease. But no goal was signalled until Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) tapped the rebound back into the net to give Brooks its first lead of the night.
The visitors pulled away from there; Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) scored on a spinning rebound shot from the right circle to extend the lead to 4-2, while a subsequent Okotoks power play led to Prkusic blasting in his second goal of the game from the right point for a 5-2 advantage.
With 5 minutes left in the game, the Oilers went with the empty net, pulling goalie Riley Morris. But soon after, Makar fired a perfect pass from his own end to Foo, who carried into the Oiler zone and deposited the puck into the open cage to notch the 6-2 final score.
Both teams were 1 for 5 on their respective power plays. Benson made 17 saves on 19 shots for the win, while Morris stopped 51 of 56 in the losing cause.
The two teams reconvene Tuesday night for Game 4 of the South Final at the Pason at 7:00 PM. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:45 PM on Real Country 105.7.
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