CRUSADERS 1 OIL BARONS 5
Looking to string together back-to-back wins, the Crusaders played host to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons today.
Despite the 1-3-0 record, the Cru have played the Barons well so far this season. The goal differential in those four games was only (-3). Brandon Vogel got the start for the Crusaders as well, getting the nod in both of this weekends games.
The Crusaders got off to a solid start and seemed to be pushing the pace. They would even get rewarded when William Zapernick worked his way in all alone and fired a low shot home.
That goal put the Cru up 1-0, but after that, the Barons seemed to take over. They established a cycle and managed to pin Sherwood Park for long stretches. After a while, the pressure got to the Cru and Fort McMurray managed to even things back up.
Before the first period ended, the Barons would tack on two more and make it a 3-1 game.
The Cru jumped out to a decent start to the period once again, but a poor give away by Ty Readman on the power play allowed Reed Morrison to cash in. Giving up shorthanded goals has cost the Cru previously against Fort Mac and it bit them again today.
There were some nice stretches by Sherwood Park towards the middle of the period, but they simply couldn’t bury their chances. Fort Mac eventually made it 5-1 with a little less than eight minutes to go in the period and that would spell the end of the night for Brandon Vogel, who gave up five goals on 16 shots.
You don’t want to blame Vogel for any of those goals, but at the same time when you’re going up against a team as good as the Barons, you need to be firing on all cylinders and Vogel wasn’t on his game today.
This was a tough period to judge. On one hand, the Cru came out and played really well in the final frame, but you can only read so much into it because it seemed like Fort McMurray took their foot off the gas with a four-goal lead.
Still, even when you’re losing it’s always good for the confidence of a young team to go out and finish this game off well is important.
In general, this was a tough game to judge. I struggled to find a Crusader who had a blatantly bad night, but at the same time, I don’t think there was any one player who you could look at and say they were awful.
I think tonight was just a case of the Crusaders not being skilled enough to compete with one of the AJHL’s premier teams. If they want to win these types of games, playing just good won’t be enough, they need to find another gear and tonight they just didn’t have that next gear.
- There were moments where the Crusaders proved they can keep up with the Barons, as they have a few times this year.
- They did a good job drawing lots of powerplay chances, they just couldn’t capitalize on those chances.
- Getting the first goal is something I wanted this team to do more often. They did that tonight.
- They won the shot clock battle, putting 34 onto Chris Curr, while only allowing 27.
- Ben Rishaug played good in his relief appearance, not allowing a goal in 27 minutes.
- Special teams sunk them tonight. They had a few chances with the man advantage to pull themselves back into this game, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Not only did they not manage to get a powerplay goal, but they allowed a shorty, which really took the wind out of their sales.
- Brandon Vogel wasn’t bad but him, as well as the d-core, needed to find a way to make a big stop and not allow those “Grade A” chances when the game is still up for grabs.
- At times, they looked a little too casual in their own end. Some errant passes that they simply didn’t put enough effort into ended up on Oil Barons’ sticks.
The homestand continues next weekend when the Calgary Mustangs come to town. These two teams haven’t met yet this season, but the Cru should expect a tight battle. The Mustangs are currently fourth in the AJHL’s South Division at 19-18-4. The puck will drop just after 7 pm from the Sherwood Park Arena.