FINAL SCORE: Sherwood Park Crusaders 4 Lloydminster Bobcats 1
We hit the road tonight and made our way over to Lloydminster to watch the Cru take on the Bobcats. Despite all the bad weather and the fact that Lloydminster police weren’t going to let us leave the city, we trucked onwards and were treated to an excellent game of hockey.
Starting off the first period, the Crusaders came out of the gate generating plenty of chances but unfortunately for them the Bobcats were the first on the board. Kyle Dronyk found a wide open Zach Webb on the back post for an easy tap-in and his 10th of the year. The Crusaders responded with some good pressure in the Bobcats end, however, they ended up taking a penalty. If you’ve watched a Cru game this season you’ll know that they almost always grab themselves a hand full of good chances and tonight wasn’t any different. Darcy Zaharichuk won the board battle in his own ended then carried it up the ice passing by three Bobcats but couldn’t find the net to his disappointment. However, after that, the ice started to tilt more for the Crusaders who went on to dominate the rest of the period and did go on to score twice before the buzzer sounded. The first goal came from Alex Rotundo, for his 17th of the season, after Tanner Younghans threw it on goal eventually hitting Rotundo and going in. The boys find their second with just over a minute left in the first when Younghans rifled one home top shelf, an excellent way to finish of the period.
The second period began with an immediate powerplay for the Crusaders when the Bobcats player got called for slashing 12 seconds in. Only one big chance on the power play though was when captain Ben Sowa crushed one of the crossbar. A little deeper into the second, winger Ashton Casault was thrown out of the game for a hit from behind putting the Crusaders down a forward and on the penalty kill once again. I am pretty sure the penalty kill unit had more opportunities during that two minutes than the Bobcats did with the usual suspects, D. Zaharichuk and Stafford, leading the way. Midway through the period, Cam Reagan almost broke the net when he slapped home the puck after a Bobcats player passed it directly to him. To finish off the second, the Cru were put on the powerplay which was easily their best of the game when they poured shots on but couldn’t get one by Kelleway.
Despite the lack of goals in this period, the third was highly entertaining with chances coming from both teams. Lloydminster definitely came out the stronger side to start it off the period creating plenty of chances for themselves, luckily for the Cru, Klassen had different plans. As I said previously, the period was end to end action but the only chance that found it’s way past the goal came from Ty Readman late in the third. Overall, the Crusaders gave their traveling fans an entertaining and enjoyable game. Well, worth the trip to Lloyd.
- Klassen gave them nothing to worry about in the goal. Stopped shot after shot all night long. One of the better performances I’ve seen from him.
- Pressed hard the whole night which was shown on the scoreboard.
- Tyler Maltby, despite not scoring, had a dominant game at times making the Bobcats look silly with his soft silky hands.
- All four lines were rolling for the Cru tonight.
- Sowa and Torontow were both shut down guys not allowing the Bobcats to have too many chances when they were on the ice.
- The penalty kill, as always, was unbelievable and gave the Cru more chances than the Cats did in those two minutes.
- Younghans had a superb game tonight, resulting in a beautiful goal to end the first period. A typical Younghans game, getting under the opponents skin and making them pay for it.
- During a powerplay in the third period, the Crusaders had themselves set up but just didn’t want to shoot the puck despite many opportunities.
- Lloydminster came out hard to start the last period and for a few minutes, it seemed like they could grab a couple of goals. Luckily for Sherwood Park, Klassen was on his game tonight stopping all their chances.
- The Cru took a lot of penalties tonight. They seem to do this often which shouldn’t be happening. Once they getting into the playoffs if they continue to take penalties it’s going to come back and bite them.
THE TURNING POINT
Tonight’s turning point came way back in the first period on a Crusaders penalty kill. The play from Darcy Zaharichuk on the first PK really set a tone for the whole game. It seemed as if at that point, somebody flicked a switch and the Cru turned up the tempo.
Up next for the Crusaders they’ve got the Calgary Canucks back at home with the puck dropping at 7 pm. The last time these two teams met, the Cru came out 3-2 winners in Calgary last October.