The Sherwood Park Crusaders look to close off an undefeated month of November that has led them to a 24-2-0 record to take sole possession of the number one spot in the North Division with 48 points. Tonight’s game will be Crusaders fan’s first chance to take a look at the team’s new acquisition of Jacob Kendall, who suits up for his first home game at Sherwood Park Arena against his former club. Kendall comes to the Crusaders with 15 goals and 23 points in 25 games in his overage season. The forward brings another scoring threat to the line-up along with a veteran presence and added strength.
When asked to describe his game in an interview with Tyler Yaremchuk on Inside the Cru, Kendall stated, “I like to play in the corners, play a hard style of game, be hard to play against. That’s what I pride myself on.” Kendall comes into this game on the second line for the Crusaders, on the left side of Ty Mueller and Jarred White.
The Kodiaks come into this game hungry for two points after taking a shootout loss to the Okotoks Oilers earlier this week. The club has stayed at a steady pace throughout the season, putting up a respectable 11-12-3 record that has them slotted in the middle of the pack in the South division. They aren’t a team the juggernaut Crusaders should take lightly though. The Kodiaks have the offensive weapons to steal a game on any given night, including former Crusader Cody Laskosky, who has had himself an unbelievable season so far in Camrose putting up 34 points in just 24 games.
Here’s how things went down:
The Crusaders found the net first in this game, taking advantage of an early powerplay opportunity. Reid Irwin showed his poise on the backend, as he dragged the puck along the blueline just long enough to pull in the Kodiaks penalty killer. Then quickly slid the puck over to Brennan McDonnell, who now had a clear shooting lane to blast a shot from the point that rang off the post and past Griffin Bowerman.
The Kodiaks would answer back shortly after, as Damon Zimmer slipped past the Crusaders’ defence before being sprung on a breakaway pass by Carson Welke. Zimmer made no mistake on his breakaway opportunity, beating Carter Gylander to bring this game back to even.
It was a hot start for the Crusaders special teams; they were able to add yet another powerplay goal before the opening frame came to an end. The goal was precisely how Crusaders Head Coach Adam Manah had it drawn up, Arjun Atwal won the face-off clean back to Benning who moved the puck over to the team’s premier sniper, Carter Savoie. Savoie walked in from the point to just above the tops of the circle before releasing a lethal shot to beat Bowerman down low and add the Crusader’s second powerplay goal of the game.
They head into the second period up 2-1. The Crusaders dominated possession in the first frame, holding off the Kodiaks to just four shots and putting up ten of their own.
After giving up two powerplay goals in the first period, Camrose got a chance to add a powerplay goal of their own early into the second. However, things did not go as planned for the Kodiaks, as Reid Irwin led a short-handed rush down the ice for the Crusaders and perfectly placed a low shot off the right pad of Bowerman that produces a rebound right out front to a wide-open William Zapernick backdoor. Zapernick’s short-handed tally brings the Crusaders lead to 3-1.
A scary moment ensued for Camrose’s starting goalie as he went down on the ice after a scrum in front of his net. Bowerman would leave the game and was replaced by Cole Tisdale. As of right now, there is no update on Bowerman’s injury, and he did not return to the game.
The powerplay continued to stay rolling for the Crusaders and looks as though they have no plans of slowing down. Benning controlled the play from the blue line before sending a shot-pass towards the Kodiaks net that found the stick of Jared White in front for an easy tap-in goal past Tisdale.
With just seconds remaining in the period, the Crusaders came flying down the ice for a prime scoring chance. Newly acquired Jacob Kendall sprung Ty Mueller on a breakaway opportunity, but the buzzer went just before Mueller was able to get a shot off.
Heading into the third, the Crusaders are up 4-1 and lead the Kodiaks 23-8 in the shot department.
Not a beat was missed as the Crusaders started the final frame of the game. Irwin got things started by once again leading the rush up the ice into the Kodiaks zone, and finding Atwal driving to the net who puts the puck past the five-hole of Tisdale, bringing the game to a score of 5-1. Which rightfully represents the dominant effort by Sherwood Park.
The Savoie and Benning magic then continued to produce for the Crusaders. Savoie picked up the puck in the offensive zone and immediately sent it over to tee-up Benning for a one-timer that he blasted cleanly past Tisdale. Expanding the pile-up by Sherwood park to 6-1.
Sherwood Park continued to drive up the shot clock throughout the third period, but the game ended at a score of 6-1, giving the Crusaders their 25th win on the season to close out the month of November undefeated.
- McDonnell generated a large volume of quality shots from the point throughout the game. Both on the powerplay and during even strength. His shots were low and heavy, consistently creating second and third scoring chances in front.
- The powerplay was lethal for the Crusaders, scoring four times on the man advantage, and even adding a short-handed goal during a Kodiaks powerplay. Anytime the special teams are firing on all cylinders like the Crusader’s was tonight they are giving themselves a great opportunity to run away with games as they have been.
- Irwin was outstanding for the Crusaders tonight and was the main catalyst for much of their offense. The way he enters the zone off the rush allows the team to get set-up in the zone or generate dangerous scoring chances on the fly.
- The Crusaders ran the shot clock this game, finishing the tally at 40-14.
- The few chances that Sherwood Park did give up to the Kodiaks were all off the rush and could have been cleaned up by plugging up the neutral zone, not allowing Camrose to break-in with speed. With that said The Crusaders limited the opposition to just 14 shots, so you can’t really complain about much from this game.
The Crusaders head out to Bonneyville to take on the Pontiacs at RJ Lalonde Arena on Wednesday, December 4th. In what they hope can be the start of another successful month of hockey after going undefeated through November. The Pontiacs will prove to be a challenge for the Crusaders as they currently sit just two spots behind them in the North Division and have put up a record of 18-8-2 for 38 points on the year.