RECAP: Shelest stands tall but Oilers lose 5–3 to Brooks in final home preseason game

OKOTOKS, AB (September 8, 2023) — The Okotoks Oilers shot out to a 3–1 lead in the first period before giving up four unanswered goals in the final 20:01 of regulation to lose 5–3 in Friday’s preseason game against the Brooks Bandits.

Rylan Brown (Sherwood Park, AB), Kade Turner (Calgary, AB), and Hunter Sawka (Cochrane, AB) all beat Bandits starter Johnny Hicks in a span of less than four-and-a-half minutes in the back half of the opening frame.

But after Caelan Fitzpatrick cut the Oilers’ lead to 3–2 with a last-second goal at the very end of the second period, Brooks beat Oilers starter Shane Shelest (Pointe-Claire, QC) three times on 15 shots in the third to come away with the victory.

Shelest played his part exceptionally well throughout the game, making numerous saves on point-blank shots and other high-danger chances. He ultimately made 39 saves on 44 shots and was named the game’s second star.

Five different players (Fitzpatrick, Mirko Buttazzoni, Ethan Beyer, Josh Wiebe, and Dakota MacIntosh) scored for Brooks in the game. After allowing three goals on seven shots in the first period, Hicks stopped all 12 shots he faced in the final 40 minutes.

The Oilers collectively embarked upon a parade to the penalty box all night long, and Brooks made them pay. The Bandits converted on three of their 13 (!) power-play opportunities, although Wiebe’s game-winning goal in the third period came at even strength.

In all, the Oilers were called for 27 infractions accounting for 108 total minutes of penalty time. Brooks took 19 penalties for 84 minutes, although the Oilers only had six power plays of their own. The pot boiled over near the very end of the third period, when Brown dropped the gloves with Buttazzoni shortly after Brayden Gourley (Calgary, AB) fought Dylan Lariviere.

These two teams will meet for the third and final time this preseason in Brooks on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. MT. After that, the Oilers will kick off the 2023–24 regular season with a home-and-home set against the Canmore Eagles on September 15 and 16.

Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Chad Goddard