Written by Shane Clausing
The Crusaders were looking to earn their third win in four games against the wolverines tonight. They were also playing their third game in four days.
This is how the game went
The game started off very slow and inconsistent by both teams. Neither Whitecourt or Sherwood Park was able to get much possession and set up time in the offensive zone.
The slow start didn’t help the Crusaders out that much, as 8:00 minutes into the first period, Ryan Cox would take a bad and avoidable boarding penalty that would send the Wolverines to their first power play of the game. Luckily for the Crusaders, Whitecourt wasn’t able to get anything going and escaped the power play with no damage done.
The game would continue to be played at a snail’s pace, as the shots were 5-4 in favour of white court with 8 minutes to play.
With 6:53 left in the first period, Garrett Clegg would take a roughing penalty that would send Whitecourt to their second power play of the game. The Crusaders would kill it off.
After the penalty expired, Whitecourt would dominate the final five minutes of the frame. The Crusaders went a solid eight minutes without a shot on goal.
The first period ended scoreless and Brandon Vogel would stop all 12 shots he faced.
Shots were 12-5 in favour of Whitecourt after one period.
The Crusaders had about the worst start to the second period that you could have.
It started off with a lazy backcheck from the Cru as Tyr Thompson would make a nice feed to Ryley Smith, who would eventually set up Estian Coetzee to give the Wolverines an early 1-0 lead 1:02 into the second.
From that point, it would get worse for the Cru
Just four minutes later Mackenzie Harden would shovel the puck on net, off the pad of Vogel and straight to the stick of Ben Evanish to make it 2-0 Wolverines with 5:11 played in the second.
Shortly after the second goal, the Crusaders looked rattled and Chase Anderson would take a hooking penalty that would send Whitecourt to the power play. Try Thompson would find himself on the bottom left side of the lower circle and would riffle the puck top shelf, left side on Vogel to make it 3-0 Wolverines.
The game was spiraling out of control for the Crusaders. They looked lost as Whitecourt would dominate the first 15 minutes of the second.
However, the Cru would find life.
The final five minutes of the second would prove to be their best of the game. The Crusaders would end up firing pucks on net until something would happen and eventually, that something did.
William Zapernick would fire the puck on net and get it past Xavier Potvin to make it a 3-1 game after two periods.
The Crusaders would start off the third period just like they did when they finished the second. They were quick on pucks and were dominating the possession game.
The momentum shift would start after Wolverines forward Liam Motley would take a 2-minute roughing penalty that would send the Crusaders to the power play. The Cru would get a few good chances, but nothing would get in the back of the net. You could really sense the momentum in the game-changing.
Shortly after the power play, Brandon Wallis would put the puck on net and Ryan Cox would tip it in to make it a 3-2 game. Cox would also pick up his 100th AJHL point on the play.
Goaltender Brandon Vogel looked stellar in the third, taking away a few great chances by the Wolverines and keeping the Cru in the game.
Unfortunately, the Crusaders were not able to capitalize and tie the game as Liam Motley would tap into an empty net to finish the game and give Whitecourt a 4-2 victory.
- Ben McLoud had a really solid third period, including setting up the second goal. He also created quite a few chances for the Crusaders. He was very good on the blue line tonight.
- Brandon Vogel looked great for the Crusaders. Even despite being down 3-0 early in the second, he found a way to keep the cru in the game when the team was down.
- They competed well against one of the top teams in the nations. Definitely a lot of positives to take away from this game.
- The last 5 minutes of the first and first 15 minutes of the second were not good enough. The Crusaders are lucky that the game was 3-1 after 40 minutes.
- The team needs to keep their discipline. They had too many bad penalties.