Crusaders 6 Storm 2
The Crusaders were without six starters tonight and forced to call up three affiliate players: Connor Hart, Bryce Bader, and Liam Antoniuk.
They were also looking to make it two games in a row for the first time at home this season.
On the other side of the ice, Grande Prairie were looking to bounce back from a 6-3 lose to the Drayton Valley Thunder
Here’s how this one went:
Grande Prairie put the Crusaders under pressure to kick things offs. The Cru were pinned in their own zone for the first few minutes as the Storm piled on the shots. Luckily for the home side, Brandon Vogel was on form tonight and made a few good saves to avoid an even worse start for Sherwood Park.
It picked for them though after Dylan Stewart drew a high sticking call at the four-minute mark. The resulting powerplay didn’t go as planned as they failed to produce much offense and struggled to handle the puck. However, following their odd-man advantage, Dylan Stewart opened up the scoring after putting home the rebound from Erik Millers shot. 1-0 Crusaders.
In Crusaders fashion, that lead didn’t last long at all. Just over a minute later, the puck managed to squeak over the line after a shot from Storm forward Edouard Michaud. 1-1 with 14 minutes to play in the frame.
Soon after, Sherwood Park put themselves in another bad situation; taking a too many men penalty which has been happening too much as of late. Again, luckily for them, nothing came from the penalty.
They would regain the lead on another Dylan Stewart goal. A lead pass from Michael Bentz managed to get through to the Storm defencemen feet and find the stick of Stewart. A hard slap shot found the bottom right corner to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The roles were reversed to start out the second. Sherwood Park had a number of grade A chances to extended their lead but, unfortunately, came away with nothing. The best chance fell to Chase Anderson on a breakaway attempt, however, the Storm netminder stood his ground preventing his first goal of the year.
Another huge opportunity fell to Ryan Cox not long after, however, Charles-Oliver Levesque made an extremely impressive stick save. Easily the best save we have seen at the Sherwood Park Arena this season.
The Crusaders didn’t let that save discourage them. A three-on-one chance was put away by Garrett Clegg who ripped one right over the shoulder of Levesque extending the Crusaders lead to two.
Following Clegg’s tenth of the year, the ice began to tilt more in the Crusaders favour who had chance after chance to extend their lead. Both Clegg and Erik Miller rifled shots of the bar on odd man rushes.
With five minutes remaining in the frame, Sherwood Park found themselves on the powerplay in which they got their fourth of the game. William Zapernick slotted home his seventh of the season with Eric Blanchette and Michael Bentz each grabbing an assist.
4-1 Crusaders heading into the second intermission.
The third period began with the Crusaders on the penalty kill after a scrum at the end of the second period resulted in Sherwood Park being assessed the extra minor. They were able to kill off this penalty will great ease.
Brandon Vogel was on top form tonight, too, for the Crusaders. A massive pad save early in the third resulted in the Crusaders turning up the ice and grabbed their fifth goal. The save from Vogel may not of shown up as an assist on the stat sheet but he played a huge part in the goal.
Another play shouldn’t go unnoticed tonight came from Payton McIsaac. The 17-year old defenceman drew a penalty after being consistently cross-checked in the back. Nine times out of ten McIsaac reacts to a play like that and the Crusaders powerplay its erased. It’s great to see that he was able to not retaliate and hurt his team.
The Crusaders would grabbed themselves another goal before the final buzzer from Eric Blanchette.
- They played without Ty Readman from the start of the second onwards and still managed to put on a show offensively.
- Brandon Vogel made a number of great saves. It’s nice to finally see the Crusaders give him some goal support.
- All three affiliate players didn’t look out of the place. Each one of them, obviously, made a few mistake but also made a number of good players.
- Dylan Stewart continued his dominant form scoring two goals.
- Great to see Eric Blanchette get on the scoresheet. He’s deserved one in the past few games.
- Michael Bentz kept his head up the ice tonight making numerous plays. A few passes did go for icing calls but it’s great to see him develop his offensive game.
- They gave up a good amount of chances whilst on the powerplay. The Storm were able to take advantage and get a shorthanded goal.
- Even with six goals, the Crusaders don’t shoot often enough. They were only able to take 28 shots on goal.
- Again, they struggled to start the game and allowed the Storm to start out hot.
Tomorrow night the Crusaders will be looking to make it three in a row against the Drayton Valley Thunder with the puck dropping at 7 PM.