In Sherwood Parks’ second game of pre-season action they take on this years host team; the Camrose Kodiaks. After a disappointing 6-5 loss to the Drumheller Dragons on Wednesday, the Crusaders looked to bounce back and get into the win column against the Kodiaks.
They would more of a full lineup in this one with more returnees suiting up as opposed to the roster that rookie-heavy Wednesday afternoon.
Host Camrose got on the scoresheet early burying both of their first two shots of the period. Brennan Davis scored the first and Kyler Kupka put home the next to go up 2-0 just 7:14 in.
The CRU cut the lead in half with some pretty passing on the power-play, finished off by Jacob Franczak, with helpers from Will Zapernick and Michael Benning.
Two minutes later, a simple short handed clearing attempt was misplayed by Crusaders goalie Luke Cameron, and gift-wrapped Ethan Heidepriem with a short handed goal to restore the two goal lead.
Less than a minute later, the CRU would claw back to within one on a power-play goal from Garett Clegg with a nice pass from Will Zapernick. The CRU tied the game 50 seconds later on a goal from Kyle Fulton.
Camrose took a cross checking penalty which lead to a one-time goal from Zafir Rawji to give the CRU their first lead of the game.
The lead quickly evaporated as Ethan Heidepreim took the deep pass from Kyler Kupka and undressed the goaltender for the five-hole goal brining Camroses’ goal total to four on five shots.
The second period picked up where the first left off with Camrose taking the lead a minute into the frame on a goal from Jacob Kendall, brining the goal total to five on seven shots effectively ending Luke Cameron’s night, as he was replaced by Brandon Vogel.
Camrose would make a goaltending change of their own mid-way through the period, as Luke Lush was replaced by Ty Marcinkowski.
Camrose once again took a two goal lead as Dallon Melin put one past Vogel to extend the lead.
The CRU would pull to within one yet agin this time on a buzzer beater from Jacob Franczak, who smartly looked off the pass on the two on one and fired it home short side with 0.9 seconds to go, to make it 6-5 heading into the second intermission.
Camrose took an early slashing call 40 seconds into the third, along with a too many men on the ice call a minute later to make the power play a five on three. The CRU would make no mistake as Zafir Rawji would tie the game at six.
The Crusaders took the lead mid- way through the third as Will Zapernick would once again look off the pass on a two on one and fire one home short side to give the CRU a seven to six lead, which was the fourth lead change of the game.
The CRU put the game away late in the third as Zafir Rawji would score his hat-trick goal right off the face- off win by Garett Clegg, that was shovelled in front of the net by Carter Savoie, giving Rawji an easy tap-in for his third of the night.
The Crusaders would hold on for the 8-6 win.
- Michael Benning was the most impressive defensemen on the ice all night. He ran the CRU’s power-play and made good decisions all night, as well as showing off his hard shot.
- The line of Clagg, Savoie and Rawji was dominant all night. They showed a lot of chemistry together, showing that they could be the teams top line this year.
- Brandon Vogel looked very sharp in relief stopping 19 of the 21 he faced.
- Will Zapernick had a nice night offensively with one goal and two assists showing off his nice passing skills in the process.
- Despite the slow start, the CRU looked more complete as compared to the first game against Drumheller.
- Goaltending was shaky early, possibly making this the biggest question mark on the team heading into the regular season.
- The CRU suffered a slow start, which gave up two goals in first seven minutes and the first two shots they faced
- Some players looked promising however, not yet ready to make the jump to the AJHL. Some time to develop their skills may be needed before making the Crusaders lineup.
The CRU are back in action Friday at 12:00 p.m against the Whitecourt Wolverines at Encanna Arena.