The Crusaders will look to continue rolling in the month of February that has so far resulted in just one loss for the team as they come back home after a couple of back to back road wins. The Kodiaks have gone back and forth in the win column this month, but are going to be riding goaltender Griffin Bowerman in Monday’s matchup. Who has 3 shutouts in his last 4 starts and possesses a 0.931 save percentage this season.
They will be facing former teammates Cody Laskosky, Erik Miller, and Deklan Whilllans, who all be stepping foot in Sherwood Park Arena for the first time since being dealt from the team.
A lot is on the line heading into this one, as the tight race continues between the Crusaders and Bonnyville Pontiacs for the pinnacle first place spot in the North Division. A win this afternoon would help Sherwood Park pull ahead of the Pontiacs with just five games remaining in the regular season. These crucial points could be the difference between a first-round matchup with the Whitecourt Wolverines or a first-round bye.
The Crusaders managed to produce 12 shots on Griffin Bowerman in the first frame, but the goalie has continued his dominant run of 3 shutouts in his last 4 starts as he turned down every opportunity the Crusaders had. The line of Carter Savoie, Zach Kaiser, and Jack Hamly displayed a near perfect breakout which developed several “grade-A” scoring chances off the rush.
Former Crusader Cody Laskosky was buzzing early on for the Kodiaks and made himself noticeable every time he touched the ice. He was part of the only real dangerous chance for Camrose as him and Dylan Williamson were both left alone in front of goaltender Matt Berlin. Thankfully for the Crusaders Berlin was able to dive across the crease to rob Williamson of a backdoor tap-in goal, which found the netting of Berlins glove rather than the back of the net.
Solid goaltending on both ends of the ice resulted in a pretty uneventful period, to say the least. But with plenty of scoring chances it might just take one goal to open the floodgates for Sherwood Park.
Bowerman remained unsolved by the Crusaders through two periods of play. The team also allowed the Kodiaks to tie the game at 22 shots each, after dominating the shots on goal category in the first period.
A flurry of chances in front of the Crusaders net resulted in Callum Gau being credited for a goal that took an unlucky bounce off the skate of Jayden Platz just outside the crease to give Camrose a 1-0 lead.
The penalties by Sherwood Park to follow helped take the pressure off for the Kodiaks as they managed to hold onto their lead heading into the third, which they will start on the powerplay after a late period high-sticking penalty by Garrett Clegg.
The chances kept coming, but so did the strong play of Kodiaks goaltender Bowerman. A powerplay with just over ten minutes remaining in the game produced several high-quality scoring chances, and if the shot by Kaiser takes a different bounce off the post, we could have been looking at a completely different result in this game.
A hard cut in front of the net allowed for Mckenzie Welke to put the puck right on the goal-line, where it was eventually pushed in by goaltender Berlin. However, the goal was called off for goaltender interference, keeping the Crusaders hopes alive. Their remaining hopes were quickly crushed by the play of Bowerman, who stopped all 41 shots thrown his way in this game to get his fourth shutout in his last five starts, and also shutout the Crusaders for just the second time this season.
A late period goal by Williamson not only broke Berlin’s water bottle, but it also disintegrated any chance the Crusaders had of tying this game to pull themselves head of Bonneyville in the North standings. Although a strong effort, the Crusaders dropped the Family Day matchup 2-0 to the Camrose Kodiaks.
- The powerplay moved the puck well and gave the Crusaders several high-quality chances to tie the game in the third period.
- They fought this one out throughout the entirety of the game. It’s tough to question a teams effort when they put 41 shots up on the board and spent a limited amount of time in their own zone.
- Created dangerous scoring chances off rushes developed by several seamless breakouts.
- The two penalties taken in the second period following a Kodiaks goal forced the Crusaders to let up offensively at what could have been the most pivotal part of the game. However, they did do a good job killing off both penalties.
- With the pure dominance of scoring chances in this game, the Crusaders needed to find a way to capitalize on their opportunities. They put up 41 shots and still had a large number of quality chances that missed the net.
- The Kodiaks appeared to dominate the physical play at different times in the game. Would have been good to see more guys step up after their star players were obviously the targets of the physical play
Luckily for the Crusaders, the Bonnyville Pontiacs also dropped their game today 4-1 to the Okotoks Oilers, and it appears the battle for first in the North will continue until the final days of the regular season. The team will have a prime opportunity to pull into the lead as they face the Lloyd Minister Bobcats Friday at the Centennial Civic Centre Arena. The Bobcats sit last in the North with an atrocious record of 9-44-2. It might just be the perfect opportunity for the Crusaders to start a hot streak heading into the playoffs.