What a difference a week can make. It wasn’t too long ago that we were talking about a Crusaders team that had lost all confidence. As Michael Bentz said to Tyler Yaremchuk on Inside The Cru, the team was “grumpy”.
Fast forward three games and the Cru have a little bit more jump in their step. They’ve won three in a row, all against division opponents. Those wins have more-or-less cemented them into a playoff matchup with the Grande Prairie Storm, it’s now just a matter of whether they’ll have home-ice advantage.
Lots on the line as they take on a Calgary Canucks team that has been struggling as of late, dropping their last four. But the Crusaders should know better than anyone right now that a struggling team, can be a dangerous team.
Although having just played last night, the Cru came out fast, drawing an early powerplay. They applied heavy pressure generating four shots on net, with their best chance being a shot off the wall that was stifled by a Canucks defender.
Barely five minutes into the period, a Canucks player came down the wall meeting Ben McLeod who laid a big hit, shattering the glass. This led to a huge delay in the game with both teams going back to their dressing room.
Upon their return, the Canucks were able to capitalize on a Cru penalty to make it 1-0. The Cru responded late in the period with Ryan Cox scoring his 37th goal of the year.
The coaches for the Canucks were fuming over this goal taking a bench minor. Sherwood Park was able to convert with 4 seconds left as Tyler Jette scored off of a scramble in front of the net. The Cru looked strong in the opening frame outshooting the Canucks 20-6, they should continue that in the second.
What a difference an intermission can make, the 2nd period started off with a bang as the Cru were able to score an early shorthanded goal. Erik Miller slid it five-hole to make it 3-1 Cru. The Canucks came back on the same powerplay putting one in. They followed that up scoring an additional two unanswered goals to take the lead. However, before the period was over the Cru were able to tie up the game courtesy of Tyson Gruninger’s powerplay goal on a two-man advantage.
Heading into the third the Cru will be looking to regain the form they had in the first when they were carrying the play. As for the shots the Canucks had the edge outshooting the Cru 17-12.
Both teams came out to the final frame ready to play and both teams had to kill off early penalties. The teams then exchanged goals in the middle of the period, with the Cru’s coming from Tyson Gruninger off a great feed from Ty Readman from behind his own net. With 1:42 left in the game Dylan Stewart was able to give the Cru a 6-5 lead, this marking his 3rd point of the game. The lead did not last long as the Canucks scored with 53 seconds left playing with the extra man from pulling their goalie.
The Cru played a good third period but will be heading to overtime with the shots 53-36 in their favour.
The overtime wasn’t but was a good result for the Cru as they were able to come away with the win. It was a nice pass from Readman again, this time from the corner to Tyler Jette coming off the bench who put it low glove.
- Tyson Gruninger was a force on the ice for the Cru scoring two goals.
- Ben McLeod was noticeable tonight throwing a huge hit to start the game and contributed 3 assists on the night.
- Their offense was on tonight putting seven past the Canucks goalie.
- Despite some struggles, they gutted out a victory. A win is a win and they will look to keep it going Wednesday in Llyod.
- If the Cru want to be successful in the playoffs they will need to cut down on the number of penalties they take in the game. It’s tough to compete with top teams when you’re killing penalties.
- Their second period was not a good effort from the home side and were lucky to come out of it tied. Again, you can’t have luls like that in the playoffs.
- They were sloppy in their own end and gave up a lot of turnovers at different times.
The Cru will travel to Lloydminster on Wednesday for their third final regular season game, the Cru have handled the Bobcats well this year winning four of their five meetings.