The Crusaders had a home matchup against the Olds Grizzlys for the first time this season.
In previous contest, Sherwood Park defeated the Grizzlys already this season on two occasions with a 5-1 and 4-1.
Here is how this one went:
It was a fairly quiet first with only one real grade-A scoring opportunity: that chance fell to rookie Eric Blanchette. Blanchette received an excellent pass from Dylan Stewart and dragged it around the keeper then hit the post. A chance that should’ve resulted in the first goal of the period.
The first frame also saw a number of big hits. Tyson Gruninger set the tone, much like he has in his opening few games with the Cru, and even captain Brendan Kallis let out a little of his frustration. Not something you see very often.
Overall, the Crusaders had the best chances in the period and should’ve had the lead heading into the intermission.
The physicality continued in the second period, every opportunity either side had to slam their opponent into the boards they took it. Former teammates Tyler Pang and Ty Readman also got in a heated scuffle in front of the Grizzlys goal which resulted in both players getting two minutes for roughing and Pang getting the extra minor for hooking.
Similarly to the game against Canmore a couple of weeks ago, the Crusaders had an unbelievable amount of breakaway opportunities. However, they weren’t able to capitalize on any of them due to some great stops by Grizzlys goaltender Andrew Henderson.
There was a goal this period, Eric Blanchette slotted home his 4th of the season after receiving a phenomenal pass from Ty Readman. There was no way Blanchette was missing this one.
Heading into the final intermission, the Crusaders were holding a 1-0 lead over the travelling Olds Grizzlys.
To kick off the third period, Jacob Franczak got the Crusaders on the board with his fourth goal of the season.
However, not much happened for a long period of time following the Crusaders second goal. A few big hits were thrown by Tyson Gruninger – who blew up an Olds defenseman at centre ice – and Michael Bentz – who came close to sending a Grizzly over the boards.
The goals did come in rapid fashion soon after. Olds got their first goal from Cayden Kraus put one by Gylander between his five hole. An unfortunate goal to concede for the rookie goaltender in his first start.
Sherwood Park turned it up the tempo in the final five. Ty Readman ripped one by Henderson for his 14th of the season, and then Tyler Jette sniped one right by a confused Grizzlys netminder for his first AJHL goal.
Overall, it was an excellent performance by the Crusaders. All four lines were rolling and they were unfortunate not to score more than four. This game ended a two-game losing streaking and gives the team a solid confidence booster heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Oilers.
- Carter Gylander was excellent in his AJHL debut. The team also did a good job at limiting any good scoring opportunities for the Grizzlys.
- The Crusaders made it a physical game tonight. Gruninger and Bentz led the way in that category.
- All four lines were rolling tonight, nice to see the team has good depth.
- The powerplay was improved. They were previously goalless in their previous 16 attempts.
- The penalty kill was perfect. Limited the Grizzlys opportunities.
- The game should’ve been over a lot earlier than it was. The Cru had a number of breakaway chances that they didn’t capitalize on.
The Crusaders take on the Okotoks Oilers on Sunday afternoon at 2:15 PM at the Sherwood Park Arena