OKOTOKS, AB (April 4, 2017) – Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) stopped all 24 shots he faced, and the Brooks Bandits pounced on a first period misplay by goalie Riley Morris, adding two empty netters in a 3-0 win over the Okotoks Oilers on Tuesday night.
The win gives the Bandits a 3 games to 1 lead in the 2017 AJHL South Final, with Brooks able to clinch their fifth South title in the last six seasons with a victory in Game 5 at home on Friday night.
Brooks outshot Okotoks 14-5 in the first, but the only goal came on an uncharacteristic miscue by the Okotoks netminder. Morris controlled the puck behind his own net and flung a pass up his left wing; but forward Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) batted the puck out of mid air and, while falling to the ice, chipped a puck into the open Oiler net for the night’s eventual game-winning goal.
A sequence of point blank and spinning saves on a later first period power play by Okotoks, as well as a point blank pad save on Jordan Xavier in the third period, highlighted a masterful performance by Benson, who became just the second goalie in AJHL history to record 10 total shutouts in a season. Benson also has now recorded the 4th-most playoff shutouts in a season in league history, 1 short of the league record tied by Bandit goalie Garret Hughson last season. The clean sheet was also the Bandits’ 13th total shutout of the campaign, the 2nd-most in league history as well.
With Okotoks pressing late, the Oilers pulled their goaltender for a post-timeout faceoff with just under 90 seconds left in the game. But Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) won the puck back to Cale Makar (Calgary, AB), who floated a high arcing pass to the Oiler zone, which Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) settled down and shot in from the left circle to make it 2-0.
Okotoks pulled the goalie and pressed again, but the Bandits held on and sealed the deal with a Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) shot from the redline that found the open Oiler cage as well.
The Bandits outshot the Oilers 41-24 in the game, with both teams going 0-for-3 on their respective power plays. Puck drop for the potentially decisive Game 5 is set for 7:00 PM on Friday night, with tickets available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca. If the Bandits win, it would be the first time the team has clinched a series at home since the 2013 league final.
teamInfo Object ( [data] => Array ( [team_id] => 9 [city] => brooks [name] => bandits [division] => s [website] => http://www.brooksbandits.ca/ [dev_url] => [is_active] => 1 [logo] => bandits.png [esports_id] => 490495 [up_esports_id] => 0 [fastHockey_id] => 0 [footer_sponsor_collection_id] => 46 [header_sponsor_collection_id] => 45 [side_sponsor_collection_id] => 108 [spotlight_ad_top_collection_id] => 316 [spotlight_ad_bott_collection_id] => 317 [webtv_title] => Buy Tickets Online! [webtv_image] => CRA Full House emrose.jpg [webtv_link] => https://tickets.brooksbandits.ca/ [webtv_content] =>
Skip the lineup and reserve your seats online for Bandit home games! Click the "..."![webtv_active] => 1 [scoreboard_image] => Brooks_Scoreboard_jpf_z5k.jpg [team_bg_image] => AJHL_Background_CHAMPS_29APR16_1 (2).jpg [team_bg_full] => 1 [twitter_id] => BrooksBandits [twitter_url] => http://twitter.com/BrooksBandits [facebook_url] => https://www.facebook.com/BrooksBandits [instagram_url] => https://instagram.com/brooks_bandits/ [youtube_url] => https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWLQ8-MZHSg444xg1PdZmyw [analytics_id] => UA-26146535-18 [primary_hex] => #002C61 [secondary_hex] => #002C61 [tertiary_hex] => #221E1F [quaternary_hex] => #E21735 [player_of_the_week] => [player_image] => [player_sponsor] => CCM.jpg [player_sponsor_link] => www.google.com [dplayer_of_the_week] => [dplayer_image] => [dplayer_sponsor] => CCM.jpg [dplayer_sponsor_link] => www.google.com [mplayer_of_the_month] => [mplayer_image] => [mplayer_sponsor] => CCM.jpg [mplayer_sponsor_link] => www.google.com ) )