Training camp is well underway and the peak of a camp is usually a team’s intrasquad game. For the Crusaders that game was yesterday and for a lot of people, myself included, it was the first chance to see this group up close and in a game situation.
Returning players like Ty Readman and Merritt Oszytko looked like their timing was just a split second off at times but I could tell the raw skill was there, you know when the pre-season comes, they should be rolling at 100%.
Two new guys really stuck out as well. Tyler Pang and Brendan Kallis were patrolling opposite bluelines, but they both looked equally dominant. Whether they were giving a quick outlet or holding down the fort in their own end, those two showed they can be dominant AJHL defensemen.
I don’t want to get too in depth with those guys, because honestly, they’re supposed to be leaders and look like they belong. Instead, I want to talk about some of the younger players who caught my eye during yesterday’s game.
He wore the #25 jersey on Team Whiteridge and from his first shift I felt like he was an impact player. He was playing on a line with two more experienced players in Will Zapernick and Graham Blanchette and not only did I feel he kept up, most shifts I thought he drove that line.
He laid out a solid hit as well late in the 2nd period and he appears to have that next gear intensity wise. On a young team that will have to work harder than any other team to stay competitive, I think Anderson is a close to perfect fit in the bottom six.
He first caught my attention early in the game when he broke up a Readman-Oszytko 2 on 1. It wasn’t just the fact that he broke up the scoring chance, but he looked so calm doing it. He had a plan and executed it without any sort of panic. I keep coming back to it and I know I’m sort of beating the dead horse but a young team needs players that dont panic, Bush showed yesterday has that element in his game.
He has experience as well, dressing in 11 games last year with the Cru. If he can play like he did in the intrasquad game, you’ll be seeing a lot more of him at the Sherwood Park Arena.
I had heard the term “NHL level shot” from people around the team and didn’t really believe it… then I saw him in game action and it might be an accurate description.
He can fire the puck and he loves to do it. Any chance he got to rip one on net, he took it and I really think he could hit in well on this teams top line. He can keep up with Readman and Oszytko and has all the tools to be a perfect complimentary player.
He has some AJHL experience too, playing in 2 games last year with Sherwood Park.
A big winger with some surprisingly solid hands. Not only does he have some decent offensive instincts, but he can mix it up too. Not afraid to get a little dirty in the corners, he could be a player that fits in nicely in this team’s bottom six, should he make the team.