The Crusaders were looking to extend their win streak to three tonight against the Drayton Valley Thunder. Whilst on the other side, the Thunder were looking to impress new head coach Ryan Rechner is his first game behind the bench.
Here’s how this one played out:
The game couldn’t have started out any worse for the Crusaders.
On the opening shift of the game, the Crusaders failed to clear the puck on multiple occasions which eventually lead the Thunder opening up the scoring just 56 seconds in.
However, from that point on the home side went on to dominate the remainder of the period. The line of Stewart-Wallis-Cox produced chance after chance and were easily the best players on the ice. Garrett Clegg also had a couple of decent scoring opportunities.
The Crusaders also killed off a penalty with just over four minutes left after Ryan Cox was called for cross-checking.
Heading into the first intermission, the Crusaders had a 19-12 lead in the shot count but still trailed 1-0.
It was a much improved Crusaders side that came out to play in the second period.
However, with that being said, Drayton Valley, again, scored early after Josh Dechaine was stripped of the puck to give the Thunder an easy open net goal.
At the two minute mark, Thunder defenceman Nolan Spadafore was called two minutes for slashing putting the Crusaders on the powerplay. Then just 30 seconds late, the Thunder were called again with lead to the Crusaders being put on a 5 on 3 power play: the perfect opportunity to get themselves back in the game.
On that 5 on 3, the Crusaders had a number a solid chance which mostly fell on the stick of Brandon Wallis who was unable to give his team a goal. However, Ryan Cox did not make the same mistake. Cox ripped one passed Edelkoorf to get his team on the board.
Not long after that, Brandon Wallis played the puck to Cox in the slot and, once again, he made no mistake and tied up the game.
The Crusaders continued to press and with that came another goal. Erik Miller found himself on a breakaway and slid one right between the Thunder net minders pads to give the Crusaders the lead.
However, that lead was short lived as the Thunder tied it up less than a minute later.
The trend of the Thunder scoring early continued when Vincent Beaudry scored four minutes into the period. Yet another terrible start to a period for Sherwood Park. That goal also ended Josh Dechaine’s night after conceding four goals on 18 shots.
Offensively, the Crusaders played well and continued to push hard producing plenty of shots. They were rewarded with a goal from Ashton Casault, his third goal in two games.
Another trend continued, though, less than a minute later the Thunder regained their lead.
They would then secure their victory with an empty-net goal.
Overall, defensively the Crusaders were atrocious. They couldn’t clear the puck, the panicked when put under pressure, and failed to play with a confidence. It was clear to everyone that they under-estimated the Thunder’s ability.
- All four offensive lines played well tonight even with the absence of Ty Readman. They produced 52 shots as a team and scored four goals on a solid netminder.
- Dylan Stewart had a great game and deserved a goal. He used his strength well, had a number of a good chance he produced himself, and set his teammates up often.
- Erik Miller seems to be getting back in former. He was able to give the Crusaders their only lead of the game on a breakaway.
- You’ve got to give credit to Thunder netminder Tymen Edelkoort. He was quality tonight and made give his team every opportunity to win this game.
- Again, the defense was bad. The Thunder were made to look like NHL players with how simply they were able to skate around the Crusaders tonight.
- Josh Dechaine allowed four goals on 18 shots. Simply not good enough for your starting goaltender.
- Like I said before, the Crusaders played like they thought the Thunder were not a threat. You can’t play like that in this league. Any team can win on any given night and that was shown tonight.
- They allowed an early goal at the start of each period.
Tomorrow night the Crusaders will look to get their first win over the Whitecourt Wolverines. The puck drops tomorrow at the Sherwood Park Arena.