Hicks perfect again as Oilers fall 5-0 to Brooks in Game 3

OKOTOKS, AB (April 23, 2024) — Brooks Bandits goaltender Johnny Hicks posted his second shutout in three games as the Okotoks Oilers fell by a 5–0 score in Tuesday’s playoff contest at Okotoks Centennial Arena.

Hicks stopped all 31 Oilers shots he faced to improve to 2–1 with a .949 save percentage through three playoff games this year. Brooks now leads the Oilers two games to one in the BCHL Alberta Division semifinals.

Although the Oilers burst out of the gate with a 9 to 2 advantage in shots at one point during the first period, Brooks quickly battled back. Caelan Fitzpatrick opened the scoring with the eventual game-winning goal at the 17:52 mark of the opening frame.

Oilers goaltender Christian Green (Boothwyn, PA) kept his team within striking distance for much of the second period but finally conceded an insurance goal to Josh Wiebe off a 2-on-1 rush with 14:11 gone in the frame.

Brooks finally took over in the third period, outshooting the Oilers 14 to 9 and cracking the game wide open with three more goals. Nathan Free, Danylo Korzhelytski, and Keith McInnis all tallied for the visitors, with McInnis scoring the game’s only power-play goal in the final minute off a heavy one-timer from the right circle.

As tempers started to flare late in regulation time, three players — Nate Yellowaga for Brooks, Connor Gourley (Calgary, AB) and Ryder De Nys (Canmore, AB) for the Oilers — were assessed misconducts. The Oilers ultimately went 0-for-2 on the power play in the game; Brooks went 1-for-4.

This year’s playoff series between Brooks and Okotoks has played out exactly like last year’s through three games, with Brooks enjoying 1–0 and 2–1 leads. Back in the 2023 AJHL playoffs, the Oilers took Game 4 at home by a 3–2 score to tie the series at two games apiece.

It remains to be seen whether the Oilers will be able to replicate that feat this year. They’ll hit the ice once again at Okotoks Centennial for Game 4 against Brooks on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:00 PM.

Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Tayler Stroobant