Bandits and Oilers Take Series Lead After Opening Games

Photo – Brooks Bandits:

The South Division Semi-Finals will now shift locations for games three and four in both best-of-seven series.  The Brooks Bandits lead the Olds Grizzlys 2-0, and the Okotoks Oilers lead the Calgary Canucks 2-0 with the next game in each series scheduled for Monday.

(7) Olds Grizzlys @ (1) Brooks Bandits (Bandits lead 2-0)

The Brooks Bandits held on to home ice after two convincing wins to open the South semi-final.

Game #1: The Bandits high powered offense was on full display as they would take game one by a 9-0 score over the Olds Grizzlys.

Similar to the first round, Grizzlys goaltender Ben Giesbrecht must have felt like he was in a shooting gallery as he would face 18 shots in the opening period. Unfortunately for the Olds netminder, Brooks would carry a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. Josh McKechney, (assists to Parker Foo and Conner Jean @0:44) Dennis Cesana, (assists to Cale Makar and Oliver Chau @17:43) and Arnaud Vachon (assists to Nic Hamre and Joe O'Connor @18:54) would light the lamp for Brooks. The Grizzlys managed to get nine shots in the opening 20 minutes but were down on the shot clock 18-9.

The second period didn't get any better for the visitors as Brooks would double their lead to 6-0. Tyrell Mappin, (assists to Nathan Plessis and Oliver Chau @11:39) Oliver Chau, (assists to Tyrell Mappin and Nick Prkusic @12:37) and Conner Jean (assists to Josh McKechney and Parker Foo @19:23) would all get their first of the playoffs to make it 6-0. That would chase Giesbrecht from the crease after he made 35 saves on 41 shots. Shots would end up being 24-3 for Brooks in the second and 36-12 in the game.

Backup goaltender Andrew Henderson wouldn't get much relief as he would face 14 shots in the third and yielded three more goals to the high powered Bandits offense. Kord Pankewicz (assists to Josh McKechney and Conner Jean @3:27) and Cale Makar (assists to Conner Jean and Joe O'Connor PPG @12:59) would get their first of the game. The scoring would finish with Dennis Cesana (assists to Nathan Plessis and Parker Foo @15:34) getting his second of the night. Shots favored the Bandits 14-4 in the third and 56- 16 overall. Mitchel Benson made all 16 saves for the shutout.

Game #2: The Grizzlys would get a pair of goals, but it wasn't enough as Brooks was able to take a 2-0 lead thanks to a 7-2 victory on Saturday night.

Parker Foo (assists to Josh McKechney and Conner Jean @2:01) and Arnaud Vachon (assists to Dennis Cesana and Cale Makar @5:43) would give Brooks and early 2-0 lead. On the power play, Arnaud Vachon (assists to Tyrell Mappin and Oliver Chau @12:45) would beat Ben Giesbrecht for the third time in two nights and the second time in the opening period to make it 3-0. Brad Girard (assist to Tyr Thompson @14:54) first of the postseason was the first shot to get behind Bandits goaltender Mitchel Benson. Shots favored Brooks 17-4 in the opening frame.

Early in the second Nick Prkusic (assists to Tyrell Mappin and Mitchel Benson @0:41) would score his first of the series while shorthanded to restore the three goal lead for the Bandits. On the power play, Quentin Greenwood (assists to Austin Holmes and Landon Gross @8:50) got Olds back within one with his first of the playoffs. Parker Foo would be awarded a penalty shot at 17:13 of the middle frame and would make no mistake to give Brooks a 5-2 lead after 40 minutes. Shots favored the Bandits 15-13 in the second and 32-17 in the game.

Brooks would capitalize on the power play early in the third as Conner Jean (assists to Josh McKechney and Cale Makar @0:39) would notch his second of the post season. Just under four minutes later Josh McKechney assists to Parker Foo and Kord Pankewicz @4:23) would finish off the scoring with his second of the series, making the final 7-2. Shots favored the Bandits 17-4 in the third and 49-21 overall. Game two was the first time in the post-season that the Grizzlys didn't give up 50+ shots.

(3) Okotoks Oilers @ (2) Calgary Canucks (Oilers lead 2-0)

Okotoks has put the Calgary Canucks on their heels following back to back wins at Max Bell.

Game #1: Riley Morris shuts down the Canucks offense in a 3-0 Oilers win.

Carter Huber (assists to Nolan Thompson and Tanner Laderoute @5:20) opened the scoring in the first beating Logan Drackett early in the hockey game. Okotoks would get a majority of the chances in the first and outshoot the Canucks 16-10.

It would stay 1-0 until the final minute of the second period when Jordan Xavier (unassisted @19:11) would extend the Oilers lead to 2-0. Calgary would outshoot Okotoks 11-10 in the second but trailed on the shot clock 26-21 through 40 minutes.

Calgary would push in the third and pull their goaltender trying to get on the board. Unfortunately for the Canucks, Trey Degraaf (assists to Cory Santoro and Ayden Roche-Setoguchi @17:31) would find the back of the empty net to make it 3-0 Oilers. Shots favored the Canucks 13-6 in the third and 34-32 in the game.

Game #2: A strong third period from the Oilers helps them upend the Canucks 3-1 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Late in the first Jordan Xavier (assists to Carson Beers and Trey Degraaf @18:33) would get his third of the playoffs on the power play to open the scoring. The Canucks would get the shot edge 12-11, but Riley Morris would remain perfect.

Late in the second Calgary would even the game when Brett Van Os (assists to Dylan Williamson and Allan MacPherson @16:05) would get his first of the playoffs, beating Morris for the first time in the series. Shots favored the Canucks 15-13 in the second and 27-24 in the game.

Okotoks would get two goals early in the third to break the 1-1 tie. Austin Wong (assists to Kyle Gordon and Jacob Bernard-Docker @2:48) would give the Oilers back the lead with his third of the postseason. Less than two minutes later Regan Doig (assists to Braeden Nesbitt and Riley Mathies @4:37) would get his first of the series to give Okotoks a bit of breathing room. Calgary would outshoot Okotoks 12-8 in third and 39-32 in game two.

Story by Chris Colwell @Cjcolwell