Despite a strong effort, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were shutout in their return to Centerfire Place by the Brooks Bandits 5-0. Five different Bandits found the back of the net, while Brendan Holahan got his first career AJHL shutout. For the MOB, Gabe Gratton stopped 31 of 36 shots in the loss, while the team stood toe to toe against one of the league’s elites.
In a back and forth first period, the Bandits found the lone marker in the frame. Hunter Wallace picked out Ty Mason in the slot, and the Weyburn product wired a shot off the back bar for his second goal of the season. The Oil Barons had their chances, however the Bandits received timely saves from Holahan or a shot would miss the target. Gratton was stellar in the second period, frustrating Brooks’ shooters and keeping his team within reach. Again, the Bandits scored the lone goal in the period. Jack Kachkowski’s shot deflected off an Oil Baron, for his first career AJHL goal, making it 2-0 Brooks. Evan Arnold had an opportunity to cut the lead in half late in the frame after a beautiful feed from Ethan Sundar, only to see his shot go wide of the post. After a successful penalty kill to start the third period, the Bandits pulled away. Against the run of the play, an offensive zone face-off saw the puck slide to Parker Lalonde, and he made it 3-0 Brooks. Caelan Fitzpatrick extended the lead to 4-0 with a blast from the right faceoff circle. Then with less than a minute to go, Logan Sawyer made it 5-0 Brooks with a power-play goal.
The Oil Barons look to continue to build on the progress they’ve been making over the last couple of weeks as they welcome the Calgary Canucks to Centerfire Place on Friday and Saturday. Puck drop for both games will be at 7:30pm.