Sherwood Park Crusaders 3 Lloydminster Bobcats 2
The Sherwood Park Crusaders were back on home ice for the first time since falling 6-1 to the Brooks Bandits. Since that loss, the Crusaders have rebounded well winning three games in a row while averaging six goals a game.
Tonight, Carter Gylander got the start in goal with Matt Berlin getting the night off after playing the last three. Tyler Jette, Arjun Atwal, Jayden Platz, and Jacob Franczak were all up in the press box tonight which left the Crusaders shorthanded on the back end. With the two defenceman out, 2003-born defenceman Matt Smith stepped in to fill the void on the backend.
Here’s how this one went:
The top line for the Crusaders (Savoie-Bowman-Clegg) got the fuel following for the offence early with a couple of chance on their first shift. The best of them came while Carter Savoie whipped the puck across the crease to Garrett Clegg, but Clegg could not quite get his stick on it to give the Cru an early lead. The chance kept following for the Cru with Nick Bowman also getting a great chance on the
Brayden Hyland came the closest to giving the Crusaders a lead. He came in hard and with pace down the left flank and beat Meger but could not beat the back post.
Defensively, the Crusaders were not kept very busy in their own end until the end of the period when the Bobcats managed to fire off five shots. The affiliate defenceman, Matt Smith made a number of excellent plays in the opening frame with the highlight being his breakup of a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Bobcats. It is surprising to think that he is only 15-years old with how well he played.
Sherwood Park would break the deadlock with six minutes to go in the period. A bouncing puck eventually hit Brett Wieschorster’s body which then resulted in a goal to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
Despite starting out the period on the penalty kill, the Bobcats really gave it to the Crusaders in the opening four minutes. The home team were forced to ice the puck a couple of times and struggled to get the offence moving.
However, that did not last very long before the first line got the offence flowing again. The big opportunity on that shift came to Bowman who would have made it 2-0 Cru if it was not for a Bobcats stick.
It became a much more of a heavier game in the second with somewhat of a playoff atmosphere on the ice. Every check was finished and finished with power. Luckily for the Crusaders, they do not shy away from games like this with the big bodies like Wieschorster, Hamly, and Bowman now all in the lineup.
The second goal of the frame came right before the halfway mark. Good work by Jack Hamly behind the net; passed the puck out front to Will Zapernick who made no mistake make it 2-0 Crusaders with his 17th of the season.
Carter Gylander was kept busy in the second. He was forced into action on ten occasions and would answer the call each time. The now Colgate commit looked extremely comfortable between the pipes in the opening two periods.
The Crusaders fell asleep for 45 seconds early on in the period which then saw their lead slip away. Lloydminster’s first goal came after the
The Crusaders did respond well, and after HC Adam Manah called his timeout, they came out and created a number of opportunities.
Less than two minutes later, Carter Savoie and Garrett Clegg found themselves on a two-on-one breakaway which is never a good time for any goaltender. Savoie placed the puck perfectly onto his linemates stick who made no mistake in giving the Crusaders another lead.
For the remainder of the period Gylander was not given much else to do facing only three more shots.
In the final moments, HC Nigel Dube would have liked to have pulled Meger to give his team the extra man. However, the Crusaders did not give him the opportunity to do that holding the puck in the Bobcats zone for the final two minutes.
- Jack Hamly was rewarded tonight with two points after another solid performance in Cru colours. He works hard down low and in tremendous in the faceoff circle. Once the playoffs come around he’s going to be a key piece to whatever success the Cru have.
- Carter Gylander had a strong night despite allowing two goals in the third period. He stood tall between the pipes and made a number of key stops.
- The top line of Savoie-Bowman-Clegg has gained so much chemistry in such little time which is very impressive. Although Bowman was kept off the scoresheet tonight, the three of them generated a number of opportunities and were unfortunate to do have three or four points each tonight.
- Matt Smith seemed a lot more comfortable tonight than he did on Wednesday against the Saints, and that’s not discrediting how well he played then either. He broke up a two-on-one breakaway with ease in the first period, and later on in the third was even given some powerplay time. Whatever route he chooses to go whether it be the AJHL or WHL, he’s going to have a bright future.
- This game should’ve been over before the third period even began. Instead, they allowed the Bobcats to get themselves back into the game and make it difficult on themselves.
- The powerplay didn’t look great tonight. They had a few good chances, but they couldn’t gain anything from their six odd-man opportunities.
- With 49 shots on goal, you would’ve hoped the Crusaders could’ve scored a few more. Curtis Meger played well in the Bobcats goal but should’ve been beaten on numerous occasions.
The Crusaders have a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Whitecourt Wolverines. The puck drops at 2:15 p.m. at the Sherwood Park Arena.