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.