Oilers win 3-2 in Brooks, tie series 1-1

(Photo by Tayler Stroobant)

BROOKS, AB (March 25, 2023) — In one of their best efforts of the 2022-23 season, the Okotoks Oilers never trailed in Game 2 of their South Division Semifinal series in Brooks on Saturday night, getting three goals from three scorers en route to a 3-2 win over the host Bandits.

With the win, the series is now tied 1-1 as it shifts to Okotoks for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Parker Sawka (Cochrane, AB) starred for the visitors, making 26 saves on 28 shots as the Oilers outshot their hosts 31-28 in the game.

It began with a whopping 15-3 shot advantage for Okotoks in the first period, but the game remained scoreless on a strong early performance from Brooks goalie Ethan Barwick.

The second period began inauspiciously, however, as Brooks captain Dario Beljo had been called for a ten minute misconduct at the conclusion of the first. As the officials debated the call with the Brooks bench, Bandits head coach Ryan Papaioannou was ejected from the game. Despite those two losses, Brooks came out firing in the second period, outshooting the Oilers 12-10 in the frame. But Okotoks broke through to open the scoring when Jackson Rowland (Calgary, AB) led a two-on-one, centering to Hunter Sawka (Cochrane, AB), who swept the puck between Barwick’s pads while falling to the ice to make it 1-0 Okotoks.

Brooks tied it on a backdoor tap-in power play goal by Aiden Fink less than four minutes later, but Connor Gourley (Calgary, AB) got Okotoks back out in front, depositing his own rebound late in the period to make it 2-1.

In the third, Brooks doubled the Oilers in shots 12-6, but a key chance to tie on an Aiden Fink penalty shot led to the league MVP missing the net. Again, Okotoks tallied first on a breakaway snipe by Ty Yoder (Tofield, AB), his team-leading fourth of the postseason, which stood up as the game winner after a late Mikhail Simchuk one-timer from the net front got Brooks back within one.

The teams will next meet Tuesday at 7 PM for Game 3 at Centennial Arena in Okotoks. Tickets are available online at tickets.okotoksoilers.ca.