Last night’s loss to the Oil Barons at the hands of hot goaltending from St. Albert native Chris Curr made it 4 of the last 5 games dropped by the Crusaders. Who now find themselves three points back of first place in the North Division.
Sherwood Park was looking to get right back into the fight for first by getting a big two points before heading into a 6 game break. Where they will look to regroup and put together a solid stretch of hockey heading into the post-season.
Drumheller is coming into this matchup third in the South Division. But with 17 losses so far this season, they aren’t an opponent that has the firepower to cause many troubles for the Crusaders. Who despite coming off a rough stretch of games, are still a dominant club in this league.
The Crusaders will be motivated to get back in the win column before starting their break. They should be able to with ease unless they aren’t able to solve the 0.924 save percentage of Dragons’ goaltender Daniel Allin.
The Crusaders were under flurry on the penalty kill to start the game off but were bailed out by an acrobatic save by Matt Berlin and the luck of a shot off a post on a couple of back-to-back chances for the Dragons.
Sherwood Park found a way to capitalize on their own powerplay as a William Zapernick pass found it’s way Arjun Atwal in the slot, who one-timed the puck through Allin early into the team’s first powerplay of the night and taking the first lead.
The home team was able to fend off Drumheller for the rest of the period and came close to extending their lead in the final minute of the frame, but Jack Hamly was robbed on his own-timer as Allin slid across to make the save.
Starting off the period on a 5on3 powerplay seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Crusaders to take control of the game. However, penalties by Reid Irwin and Jayden Platz during the man advantage would cancel out the opportunity for Sherwood Park.
Later on in the frame, the pressure put on by the forecheck of Jacob Franzcak and Zafir Rawji caused continuous turnovers by Drumheller’s defense. And the forecheck was eventually rewarded with a snipe by Matt Benning finding the back of the net to extend the lead to 2-0.
Soon after a weird bounce in front of the net allowed for Carter Savoie’s powerplay point shot to find it’s way past Allin to give the Cru a demanding 3-0 lead.
Then just as the Crusaders’ powerplay seemed unstoppable, the Dragons were able to put one past Matt Berlin shorthanded. Courtesy of one of the teams leading scorers, Brett Edwards.
But before the period ended, Jack Hamly dangled his way through the Dragons’ defense and put up a goal in his 200th career AJHL game on a beautiful individual effort.
Benning got back in the goal column for the second time tonight as he came flying down to the net on a 2 on 1 rush, then deked to his forehand and put the puck over the glove of Allin after receiving the puck from Franzcak.
Drumheller would get on the scoresheet one more time this game with a sneaky backhand shot by Shane Ott rolling over the shoulder of Berlin and into the Crusaders net.
That would be it for scoring in this one, as the Crusaders hold on to take a huge 5-2 win.
- After struggling the last few games on the man advantage, The Crusaders’ powerplay looked great in this one. They can credit the puck movement of the powerplay for their early 2-0 lead.
- The Crusaders were able to continue the momentum they were building in the third period of last nights game and carry it into this matchups. The pressure of the forecheck and puck movement in the offensive zone contributed heavily to the team’s success this afternoon.
- Michael Benning had a solid game on both ends of the ice. Putting up a couple of beautiful goals in addition to an assist for a three-point night.
- Although the Crusaders drew a lot of penalties in this game, they also took a ton. As they ended up tallying nine penalties throughout the game. And took a few penalties that eliminated the chance for their lethal powerplay to keep rolling and add to the teams demanding lead early on.
- Again they allowed quite a few chances early on. It was a miracle they didn’t start this game down 1-0. But thanks to Matt Berlin and the post, the team was able to keep the Dragon’s at zero. Berlin looked really solid in this game. Which is great to see considering he’s been coming off a rough stretch as of late.
The Crusaders now a get a much-needed break. They aren’t back on the ice until Friday when they welcome the Grand Praire Storm, and look to keep the ball rolling after a rebound win following the teams roughest stretch of hockey this season.