Photo credit: Bryan Wilson
Coming not their Saturday night meeting with the Bandits, Blackfalds sported a rather unsavoury 2-7-1 record in the month of November, with their last set of back-to-back victories coming when they won four straight now a full month ago. Brooks, conversely, has lost just once since they were defeated 6-3 in Blackfalds, dropping a 2-1 shootout affair in Sherwood Park back on October 21. Coming in, Brooks’ 15 straight wins have helped contribute to a 17-point edge over Spruce Grove for first in the AJHL’s overall standings. For Blackfalds after an October in which they earned 21 of a possible 26 points, going 10-2-1, they’d like to put November’s losses behind them as quickly as possible. A win in Brooks could be the preamble to finish out 2022 strong.
Achieving that goal, unfortunately for Blackfalds, took a very early hit. Just 16 seconds in, Caelen Fitzpatrick dropped a pass to Tyler Blocha who beat Charlie Zolin blocker side to give Brooks an early 1-0 lead. Brooks kept the sustained pressure on for the next six minutes until Brendan Poshak fired his shot through a crowd and through Zolin to give Brooks a 2-0 advantage. Unfortunately for Zolin, the two goals in under six and a half minutes marked the end of his night as Matthew Hennessey would come into the game. Hennessey shut the door, stopping Brooks’ final seven shots of the first period, and despite the Bandits dominating and outshooting Blackfalds 14-4 in the first, Blackfalds managed to keep Brooks off the board for the last fourteen minutes of the first.
The Bulldogs started the second period hungry for a tying goal, earning four minutes worth of powerplay time early in the period, but couldn’t get the puck past Ethan Barwick in the Bandits goal. Just past the game’s halfway point, Dominick Campione’s long point shot took a fortunate bounce off the glass and found the stick of Aiden Fink alone in front. Fink beat Hennessey glove side to score his 25th goal and 66th point on the season to give Brooks a 3-0 lead. Blackfalds continued the pressure, but Ethan Barwick would stop every one of the Bulldogs’ 26 shots on the day to ensure a 3-0 Brooks win.
With the loss, Blackfalds fall one point behind Camrose and three points behind Okotoks and Drumheller in the south division standings. Looking ahead, the Bulldogs have six of their next seven at home, starting with Bonnyville on Friday night.