MacNeil nets three as Oilers tie series with 4-1 win in Game 4

OKOTOKS, AB (April 24, 2024) — Owen MacNeil (Calgary, AB) notched his first BCHL hat trick as the Okotoks Oilers defeated the Brooks Bandits by a 4-1 score in Wednesday’s playoff game at Okotoks Centennial Arena.

Christian Green (Boothwyn, PA) made 25 saves and Jagger Tapper (Calgary, AB) added a critical insurance marker into an empty net late in the third period to secure the victory for the hosts.

The Oilers and Bandits are now tied at two games apiece in their BCHL Alberta Division semifinal playoff series. The next test for both teams will be Game 5 in Brooks on Friday night (tickets on the Fan Bus to Brooks for the game are available here).

Hunter Wallace scored the only goal for Brooks on Wednesday night. Bandits goaltender Johnny Hicks allowed three goals on 25 shots after posting a 31-save shutout against the Oilers in Game 3 on Tuesday.

MacNeil opened the scoring for the Oilers just shy of the midway mark of the first period on Wednesday, intercepting an errant pass up the middle in the Brooks zone and snapping a quick shot past Hicks for his second goal of the playoffs.

After Wallace evened the score at one with a quick shot off the rush at the 6:29 mark of the middle frame, MacNeil answered right back less than three minutes later by deflecting a low pass by Sam Hall (Far Hills, NJ) up over Hicks for his second goal of the game.

MacNeil then proceeded to put the Oilers up by two with just 3:23 gone in the third period. After entering the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 rush, MacNeil looked to pass and ended up banking the puck off a Brooks defender and past Hicks to make it 3-1.

The Bandits continued to press throughout the third period, outshooting the Oilers 10 to 7 over the final 20 minutes of play. Green was stellar between the pipes for the hosts en route to picking up his fifth win of the 2024 postseason.

Finally, Tapper made it 4-1 Oilers with 1:26 remaining in regulation time, sending a long-range shot from behind the red line squarely into the centre of Hicks’ vacated net. Kade Turner (Calgary, AB) picked up the lone assist on Tapper’s fourth goal of the playoffs.

Brooks outshot the Oilers by a 26 to 22 count on Wednesday but ultimately came in second where it mattered. With the series now even once again, the two teams will reconvene in Brooks on Friday for Game 5 of the best-of-seven matchup. After that, the Oilers will return home to play host to Brooks in Game 6 of the series on Sunday at 7:00 PM.

Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Tayler Stroobant