Huxley stays hot but Oilers drop 6-3 decision to Brooks

OKOTOKS, AB (March 31, 2024) — Although Brett Huxley (Calgary, AB) scored his second goal in as many games and added an assist, the Okotoks Oilers fell by a 6–3 score against the Brooks Bandits on Sunday evening.

Huxley now has points in five of his last six games and is up to 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) in 39 games with the Oilers split between the AJHL and BCHL this season. He was named the game’s third star for his efforts against Brooks.

The Oilers opened the scoring less than five minutes into the first period when Jagger Tapper (Calgary, AB) picked off an errant pass up the middle in the Bandits’ defensive zone and fired a backhander past goaltender Ian Mills for his 25th goal of the season.

But the Bandits proceeded to score the next five goals, including two from Nick Peluso, to take a commanding 5–1 lead by the 13:34 mark of the second period. Danylo Korzhelytski, Quinn McCall, and Caelan Fitzpatrick also scored for Brooks over that red-hot run, with McCall netting the winner early in the second off an end-to-end rush.

Huxley stopped the bleeding late in the middle frame off a nice rush with Jackson Rowland (Calgary, AB), who was named the Hardest Working Oiler for the game in recognition of his two-assist effort. Brooks restored its four-goal lead just 15 seconds after Huxley’s goal when Parker Lalonde tallied his 29th goal of the season.

Tempers started to flare on both teams in the third period, with tensions reaching a high point when Connor Gourley (Calgary, AB) dropped the gloves with McCall at the 6:32 mark. The two players engaged in a spirited fight, although neither landed many punches, before being ejected from the game.

Just before the fight, the Oilers got back within three goals of the Bandits courtesy of Jack Silverberg (Sherwood Park, AB). The slick winger netted his 27th of the year from in tight off a nice pass by Huxley, waiting for just the right moment before slinging a perfectly-placed wrister past Mills.

That was as close as the Oilers would get. The final buzzer sounded with the Bandits still ahead by the same 6–3 score, putting the Oilers on the brink of clinching the No. 4 seed in the BCHL Alberta Division — and a spot in the 4-vs-5 play-in round against the Spruce Grove Saints.

The Oilers’ fate hasn’t been sealed just yet, though. They’ll return to action at home next Friday night at 7:00 p.m. MT for a critical battle against the Blackfalds Bulldogs, who currently sit just two points up in the BCHL standings.

Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Chad Goddard