Your Sherwood Park Crusaders are in a tight race for first place overall in the AJHL as they welcomed the Drayton Valley Thunder to a packed Sherwood Park Arena Saturday. With a record of 46-8-0 for 92 points, the Cru is just two points back from the Okotoks Oilers, but the Oilers have played two more games. Drayton Valley meanwhile comes into Saturday’s matchup with a record of 26-23-7 for 59 points. With both teams a lock for the postseason I was curious to see what kind of effort level the squads would bring to the game.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders continue to cruise through the 2019-2020 season. Holiday Monday the Cru welcomed the lowly Lloydminster Bobcats to a pretty busy Sherwood Park Arena on Family Day. Sherwood Park comes into the matchup with a dominate 45-8-0 record, which puts them in first in the AJHL North standings and second overall in the league (at the time of this writing the Oilers Okotoks are ahead with a record of 44-7-4, gotta love the loser point!). Meanwhile, the Bobcats are having what must feel like a very long season, at 9-39-5 they’re still looking for their 10th win of the year.
Carter Gylander starts for the Crusaders, he posts a 30-4-0 record, with a 2.17 GAA, and a 0.920 save percentage. The Bobcats counter with Josh Dias, he’s 6-29-3 on the year, with a 3.76 GAA, and a save percentage of 0.899.
Edmonton product James Gibson dresses for Sherwood Park for just his fourth game of the season and his very first home game. So far he’s scoreless on the season.
Lloydminster looked hungry for that 10th win as both teams hit the ice to open the game. The Bobcats were throwing the body around and managed to get a decent chance on Gylander in the opening few minutes. However, that didn’t matter much, as it didn’t Sherwood Park long to open the scoring, Jacob Franczak found the back of the net, sucking the wind out of the Bobcat’s sail. Tanner Fincaryk and Jarred White with helpers on the play.
That frustration started to show as Lloydminster continued to lay some hits, which the Cru didn’t take too kindly to. Both Ty Mueller and Sam Carper went to the box for offsetting slashing penalties, but shortly after that Nolen Coventry put his team down a man after some shoving in front of Carter Gylander post-whistle. Sherwood Park rang one off of the post in the opening seconds of the man-advantage, but that was it for the Cru. Carter Savoie was given two-minutes for holding the stick, which killed the remainder of the PP and gave the Bobcats their first 1:20 or so of powerplay time. The ‘cats put a couple of shots to the net, but Gylander kept the green guys up by one.
Rough play continued as the Bobcats kept laying some big hits, a few a little late in my opinion, but Sherwood Park was giving it right back. Nolen Coventry got in penalty trouble again near the end of the first with a tripping call to give the Cru their second powerplay chance, but the period expires with 32 seconds remaining on the man-advantage.
The shot clock shows 10-12 for the Lloydminster Bobcats heading into the second. They’re still very much in the game and if they avoid more penalty trouble Sherwood Park may have some work ahead.
With 6 seconds left on the powerplay, the Crusaders combined on some tic-tac-toe to put themselves up 2-0 to start the second. Michael Benning had a blast from the blue line after some beautiful passing from Arjun Atwal and Reid Irwin to beat Josh Dias.
Blake Sydlowski made it 3-0 for the Cru just a couple of minutes later. He beat Josh Dias five-hole thanks to a pass from James Gibson, which is his first point of the season.
That seemed to be a tipping point for the visitors. Nicholas Magis dropped the gloves with Cameron Aucoin down in Sherwood Park’s end. From where I was sitting it wasn’t even close, Magis fed Aucoin his lunch with one fist after another. The two continued down on the ice until they were separated and before the penalties could even be announced over the PA Matt Shatsky and Chance Adrian had a donnybrook after some pushing and shoving after a whistle. Just some quality fisticuffs on your Family Day at the Sherwood Park Arena.
Magis, Aucoin, Shatsky, and Adrian were each given fighting majors and a game misconduct for the flying fists. Carter Savoie and the Bobcats’ Nolen Coventry were both given 4 minutes each for roughing after the whistle, and Arjun Atwal was given two for the same infraction.
Lloyd’s Chad MacLean was given two for checking from behind and another two for roughing after the whistle which gave the home town crew another chance on the man-advantage. I for one am not shocked that this whole fiasco was kicked off by some Chad behaviour. So much for staying out of penalty trouble.
A pretty uneventful powerplay for the Cru, but just after it expired Max Wutzke scored his first the season banging one off the post to make it 4-0 for the good guys.
The game quieted down after that. Sam Carper gave Sherwood Park another powerplay, he was given two-minutes on a tripping call. Carter Savoie looked a little frustrated after missing the net high, but he banged in his 50th goal of the season seconds later to put the Cru up 5-0. Savoie can thank Benning and Irwin for the assists.
Ty Mueller was given two for high-sticking after some rough stuff off the face-off, definitely a good call, but after the two fell to the ice the Bobcats player got on Mueller’s back and gave him some shots. I thought that was deserving of at least an off-setting penalty.
The second ends with 5 seconds of powerplay time left on the clock, the Crusaders up 5-0, and the shot clock showing 26-16 for the Cru.
The Crusaders seemed to ease off the gas a little bit in the final period and the Bobcats didn’t look like they had much fight left in them. They laid a couple of hits here and there, but it looked like they were ready to just get the hell out of Sherwood Park. I don’t know how they plan to leave though, they’re struggling just to get out of their own zone.
Tanner Fincaryk put a little salt in Lloydminster’s wound to make it 6-0, Jarred White picked up his second helper of the afternoon. Less than a minute later Arjun Atwal got his 34th goal of the season and his 100th point of the season with assists from Benning, and Bryce Bader.
Sherwood Park wins by a final score of 7-0.
- Congratulations to Carter Savoie on his 50th goal of the season and to Arjun Atwal for reaching the 100 point plateau.
- An outstanding game by Carter Gylander, he made 21 stops for his third shutout this season.
- Great work by James Gibson, he got an assist in his very first home game and just fourth game overall this season.
- I still love the new green jerseys, but after getting another look I’m not so crazy about the white helmets. I’d like to see how this kit looks with a green helmet.
- Honestly, I can’t think of anything else, they Crushed the Bobcats with a solid well-rounded game and even stayed out of penalty trouble.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders are back in action Saturday, February 22nd as they host the Drayton Valley Thunder at the Sherwood Park Arena.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders are looking for a sweep on Saturday night as they play their third straight game versus the Grande Prairie Storm. The Crusaders took the first two games last weekend in Grande Prairie, winning 4-1 and 4-0. This is Sherwood Park’s first game since being named number one overall in the CJHL Top 20 Rankings for February. The Crusaders are 42-7-0 on the season, and out of 131 teams across the country, they have the best winning percentage at 0.857. Two other Alberta teams were also named to the Top 20, the Okotoks Oilers are right behind the Cru at number 2, and the Brooks Bandits are a few spots back at number 6. Grande Prairie comes into tonight’s matchup 6th in the AJHL North at 18-24-7.
After being handed just their fourth loss of the season Wednesday versus Whitecourt, Sherwood Park bounced back into the win column Friday night in Bonnyville with a 4-2 win over the Pontiacs. They’re looking to put together another long win streak as they host the Grande Prairie Storm in a Sunday matinee matchup. Sherwood Park remains in first place in the AJHL North at 36-4-0, 10 points ahead of the second-place Spruce Grove Saints. The visiting Storm is sixth in the North with a record of 16-19-4. Grande Prairie will likely be desperate for a win, after winning four of six games in December, they have just one win in four games to start 2020.
The Cru will need some help from their depth guys this afternoon as both Michael Benning and Carter Savoie are at the Top Prospects Game in Hamilton.
Jordan Frey will start in net for the Crusaders, he comes into the matinee matchup with a 14-2-0 record, a GAA of 2.02, and save percentage of 0.924. At the other end of the rink, Grande Prairie counters with Kaeden Lane. The 18-year-old from Medicine Hat is having a better half to the season, after several games letting in 4, 5, and even 6 goals, Lane hasn’t let in more than 3 since November 15th. He posts a record of 7-9-2, with a GAA of 3.27, and a 0.888 save percentage.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders look to continue their domination of the AJHL North as they welcome the Whitecourt Wolverines to the Sherwood Park Arena. Since returning from the holiday break the Crusaders have a record of 3-0, the visiting Wolverines are floating around the .500 mark with a record of 18-15-4 sitting fourth in the north.
The Crusaders are still comfortably in first place in the AJHL North posting a record of 35-3-0, they haven’t lost since December 4th, which was a 5-4 loss versus Bonnyville.
Crusaders goaltender Carter Gylander gets the start after making 21 saves on 22 shots Sunday versus Canmore. He’s second in the league with a 21-1-0 record, a 1.94 GAA, and a 0.928 save percentage. Vincent Duplessis counters for the Wolverines, the Quebec City product has won his last two starts and has a GAA of 2.97 and a respectable 0.904 save percentage.
Congratulations to Cru captain Arjun Atwal, he was named AJHL player of the week. Atwal tallied 7 points, two goals and five assists, in three wins over Spruce Grove, Calgary and Canmore. This is the second time this season Atwal has been named player of the week, the first was back in September where he had 10 points in one week.
Both teams started playing a pretty time game with some back and forth entries, but no shots on net until Whitecourt forced Carter Gylander to make a pad save a little over two minutes in.
Sherwood Park went on the powerplay at the 15:31 mark, Bryce Osepchuk was given two minutes for holding. Shout out to whoever decided to start using the penalty music from the World Juniors, it sounds like embarrassing clown music as the players head to the box. I heard it over the weekend and it’s an awesome touch. Whitecourt did a good job limiting the Cru to just one shot on net, the man-advantage ends and we’re still scoreless.
Reid Irwin made what I thought was an awesome defensive play to stop a lone Wolverine on a breakaway, knocking the player to the ice and into the net, but the officials called a trip and awarded a penalty shot. Whitecourt’s Ethan Green went five-hole, but Carter Gylander made the stop.
Ryan Wallz made it 1-0 Whitecourt after a Crusaders turnover at the Wolverines blue line, Wallz couldn’t be caught and he buried one past Gylander. A great individual effort by Wallz with no assists on the play. Sherwood Park is normally such a tight passing team, but it seems like they’re making some poor decisions and creating turnovers.
Sherwood Park is lucky the first period ends at only 1-0 for Whitecourt, Carter Gylander has made some saves to bail out his team, but the Cru need to create more offence. The shot clock reads 10-13 for the Wolverines.
Head coach Adam Manah brought out the blender during the intermission and switched up the lines. Will Zapernick was put on a line with the Jacobs, Franczak and Kendall, and Jarred White took Zapernick’s place on the top line with Atwal and Savoie.
Bryce Bader laid a big hit along the boards at centre ice and officials rewarded him with a boarding call, giving the Wolverines their first powerplay. An excellent PK from the home team kept Whitecourt to just one shot one net, and the Cru themselves actually had two solid shorthanded chances.
Ryan Wallz walked in and beat Gylander glove side to make it 2-0 for the Wolverines, but after some discussion, the refs waved it off saying the net was off.
It didn’t slow down the Wolverines though, they scored almost immediately to really make it 2-0. Rookie and Sherwood Park native Ben Wood with the goal, Kaleb Erbang with the lone assist.
After calling a timeout the Crusaders seemed to turn things around, putting more pucks on net and more plays together. They need to just shoot more though, the Cru had some solid looks, but many passes were intercepted. We head into the third with Whitecourt up 2-0.
A bit of a better start to the final frame for the Crusaders, a few more solid chances and they look to have more speed to their game.
A powerplay gave them more energy as well, Will Spitzer was given two for hooking, but the Crusaders couldn’t capitalize. The shot clock finally is showing in favour of the Cru.
Nicholas Magis and Ben Wood dropped the gloves, at the 12:30 mark. Wood was looking for some revenge after Magis laid a big hit into the boards earlier. Plenty of big swings, but it was over quickly. Both received five for fighting and game misconducts.
Sherwood Park had a chance to get on the board after a tripping call on Ethan Leyer. It quickly turned into a 5-on-3 for 1:16 after Wolverine’s captain Adam Sandstrom laid a cross-check. With just three defenders on the ice, the Cru finally looked like the strong passing team they usually are. Arjun Atwal made it 2-1 after banging in the puck at the side of the net, Will Zapernick with the helper. The second penalty expired and it remained 2-1, but it definitely gave the Cru a boost.
That boost was immediately deflated seconds later, after Bryce Osepchuk beat Gylander blocker side to put Whitecourt up 3-1. Ethan Leyer and Kaleb Ergang with the assists.
Gylander was pulled with more than four minutes remaining to put an extra man on. The Cru did a good job of keeping the puck in the zone, it’s pretty impressive to play more than 4 minutes without a goalie and not let in an empty netter. They didn’t get many quality chances though.
Whitecourt really wanted this one. Players were blocking shots and their bench was loving it, and Wolverines netminder Vincent Duplessis played outstanding.
The Cru loses for just the fourth time this season, final score 3-1.
- Carter Gylander was great tonight, he was by far the best Crusader. The game likely would have gotten out of hand if he didn’t show up. He made 22 saves in a losing effort.
- A disciplined game from Sherwood Park, just one penalty resulting in a powerplay.
- Another slow start from the Cru. They started sluggish in games over the weekend but were able to pull off wins. That didn’t happen this time, they struggled all night and only looked like the dominating team they usually are in a few brief flashes.
- This team normally makes beautiful passes all night long, but they just couldn’t get it together with Hail Mary and sloppy passes resulting in turnovers.
- Shoot the puck. Even when Sherwood Park started to show signs of life they weren’t putting enough rubber on the net. In the latter half of the second especially they tried to force too many passes instead of simplifying their game and just shooting.
- Sherwood Park needed a 5-on-3 before they were able to convert on the powerplay.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders head to Bonnyville Friday to take on the last team that beat them the Pontiacs. They’ll be back at the Sherwood Park Arena Sunday when the Grande Prairie Storm are in town, puck drop is at 2:15.
photo via Target Photography
The Sherwood Park Crusaders welcome the Canmore Eagles in a Sunday matinee matchup. After last night’s 4-2 win the Cru improved to 34-3-0 on the season. This is the third game in three days on the road for Canmore, they lost Saturday night 4-1 to Spruce Grove and won 4-1 Friday in Fort McMurray. The Eagles sit in fifth place in the AJHL South at 14-22-4.
Carter Gylander gets the start for Sherwood Park after Jordan Frey played last night. The pair have both been solid this season, Gylander comes into today’s game with a 1.99 GAA, a 0.927 save percentage and a record of 20-1-0. At the other end of the ice Devin Chapman starts for the Eagles, he has a GAA of 4.26, a 0.876 save percentage, and a 5-8-0 record.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders welcome the Calgary Canucks to the Sherwood Park Arena tonight in the Cru’s first game of the New Year. They closed out December with a 6-1 win over the Spruce Grove Saints back on the 30th at the Grant Fuhr Arena. The Crusaders remain atop the AJHL North Standings with a record of 33-3-0; meanwhile, the Calgary Canucks are basement dwellers in the AJHL South with a record of 5-33-2. I think we’ll see pretty quickly whether or not this will be a long night for the visitors.
Jordan Frey starts between the pipes for Sherwood Park, Frey comes into tonight posting a stellar GAA of 2.03, a 0.923 save percentage and a record of 13-2-0. The Canucks counter with Connor Martin; he has a GAA of 4.74, a 0.881 save percentage and a record of 3-14-2.
The Canucks aren’t much of an offensive threat; their leading scorer Jackson Zloty has just four goals and 11 assists on the year. We all know how powerful the Crusaders are in the offensive zone, out of the top 20 point-getters in the league, 5 of them play for Sherwood Park.
photo via Target Photography
The Sherwood Park Crusaders host the Okotoks Oilers tonight at the Sherwood Park Arena.
The Cru remain on top of the AJHL North, boasting a record of 26-3-0, at the other end of the rink the Crusaders have some stiff competition with the Oilers. They’re having a pretty good season, currently second in the AJHL South at 26-4-2.
Photo via Target Photography
It’s hockey hooky at the Sherwood Park Arena. Hundreds of local school kids are skipping class to watch the Crusaders take on the Lloydminster Bobcats. After a tough loss to the Spruce Grove Saints last Friday, the Cru came back with a dominant 6-2 win Saturday to take the second game of the home at home.
This should be an easy one for Sherwood Park; the Bobcats are dead last in the AJHL North standings with a record of 2-15-3, the Cru remains atop the standings posting a 19-2-0 record.
A stellar game on tap Friday night at the Sherwood Park Arena as the Crusaders welcome the Spruce Grove Saints for a home-at-home series. Sherwood Park had another dominating 7-1 win on the road Tuesday in Drayton Valley, to improve to 18-1-0 on the season, and remain atop the AJHL North standings. Right behind them are the Saints with a record of 15-3-0.
This is the busiest I’ve seen this rink since I started covering the team, one of the bartenders tells me there are just 200 tickets left for tonight’s tilt. Sounds like Saints fans are making up a chunk of the crowd as well, with some pretty loud cheers as Spruce Grove hit the ice.
The Cru will have to shut down Ryan Peckford, he leads the Saints in scoring with 13 goals and 14 assists. Three of those goals game last Tuesday versus Lloydminster, Peckford also had three assists for a massive six-point performance. The Stony Plain product has six multipoint nights this season, including five points back in September versus Whitecourt.
Mathew Davis starts for the Saints, he’s having a great season and comes into Friday’s battle with an 11-1-0 record, a 1.90 GAA, and save percentage of .920. The home team counters with Detroit Red Wings prospect Carter Gylander, he boasts a record of 12-0-0, with a 2.14 GAA, and a .923 save percentage.
Here’s hoping for a back and forth battle, while the Crusaders are a blast to watch it’ll be nice to see the boys face some stiff competition.