photo via: targetphotography.com
The Sherwood Park Crusaders suffered just one loss in the month of December and it came at the hands of the Spruce Grove Saints in their final game of the month. The Cru was looking to push their winning streak to double-digits last Sunday against the Saints and instead, they were dealt a 9-3 loss.
Crumple it up and throw it out. The 2018 portion of this season has been wildly successful and there haven’t been too many nights where the Crusaders have been beaten up that bad.
Tonight, the team was looking to get back into the win column against the Canmore Eagles and the Sherwood Park Arena was bumping considering that Rogers Hometown Hockey was in town.
Here’s how things went down:
The game started off with a great breakaway chance for Crusaders forward William Zapernick after fighting through defenders to get a chance with Eagles’ Goaltender Thomas Davis, who would shut the door.
Later Canmore would get a chance of their own, but 18-year-old Carter Gylander came up big for the Crusaders to keep the score knotted up at zero.
It took a while for either team to solve their respective opponents goaltending, but a goal by Bowman off a great feed from Arjun Atwal allowed the Crusaders to open the floodgates at around the halfway point of the first period.
However, Eagles star forward Alex Young had to get his team on the board before the flurry of goals to come from the Crusaders began. Young was left all alone in the slot and made no mistake on his one-timer to even the game up once again.
Shortly after that, the great night for Cody Laskosky began. As he came flying down the right wing and lasered a shot over the shoulder of Davis to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead heading into the second. Prior to that, Michael Benning made a brilliant play in his own zone to break up a two-on-one chance for the Eagles. That play then resulted in the Crusaders second goal giving them the lead, again.
After some strong offensive zone pressure on the powerplay, the Cru managed to come away with a lucky bounce off an attempt by Jack Hamly to give the home team a 3-1 advantage. However, Alex Young would answer with a goal of his own on a backdoor pass from Owen Reith to bring this game within one.
Laskosky then ripped home a powerplay goal from the point to give him his second of the game and extend the Crusaders lead. This was the point of the game where the Eagles were starting to come for blood, which resulted in quite a few penalties to follow. The Crusaders would soon after capitalize on another powerplay opportunity as Zapernick batted one home out of mid-air from just outside the crease.
The dominance of the Crusaders would continue as Laskosky broke the water bottle of sitting on the Eagles net to finish off his hat-trick and end off a terrific night for him.
Eagles forward Max Giangualano was left all alone in the slot and put it past Gylander to make it 6-3, but this game still seemed out of reach… or so you would think.
The period would end off on a few heated battles in front of both teams benches after a hit from behind was called on Eagles forward Taden Rattie which would set the stage for the 3rd period.
Not much action from the Crusaders at all in the final frame. In fact, they really let this game slip out of their hands.
It didn’t start well at all, with Alex Young quickly getting his team going with his quick hands on a forehand-backhand breakaway move to finish off his own hat-trick.
Zapernick was able to get under the skin of Eagles defenceman Aiden West to give the team another powerplay opportunity and the chance to put this game away but weren’t able to manage anything.
The Eagles came extremely close to making this a one-goal game with time left to spare after a strong shot from Colton Young almost found a way to squeak through Gylander.
Staying resilient the entire period the Eagles found a way to creep up their shot total. Their hard work resulted in yet another goal by Alex Young with less than 10 seconds left on the clock to end the game with a score of 6-5.
- Zapernick was creating chances all over the ice to start the game, and it was blatantly obvious that he was getting under the oppositions skin with his tenacious play.
- Laskosky came up big for the Crusaders gathering up a hat trick and looked as though he was one of the best players on the ice at times. His poise with the puck and ability to get off quality shots in this game is a positive sign that he could be a solid contributor in big games coming up.
- The strong forecheck by the Crusaders forwards was very noticeable to begin the game. There were several occasions that the pressure put on by forward Zafir Rawji resulted in Canmore’s defence turning over the puck.
- Powerplay moved the puck around a well and got plenty of practice in this game, generating 3 goals on 8 attempts on the man advantage
- Garrett Clegg extended his point streak to 11 games, and will look to keep it alive tomorrow night against Okotoks
- The team allowed a few solid opportunities for the Eagles to take the lead early on, which is something they are going to have to avoid when they play stronger opponents.
- The elite play of Alex Young made this game close. And it won’t get any easier for the Cru as they are set to face Dylan Holloway tomorrow. They are going to have to find a way to control these elite players moving forward.
- Two goals were caused by not covering a man open in the slot. On one of those occasions that open player happened to be Alex Young, which just can’t happen. Avoidable goals that can be fixed with some improved d-zone coverage.
- The Crusaders had the opportunity to put this game away in the third period. But instead were caught sitting back and gave the Eagles plenty of chances to get back in this game.
Tomorrow night @ 7 p.m. vs Dylan Holloway and the Okotoks Oilers.