FINAL SCORE: Sherwood Park Crusaders 4 Bonnyville Pontiacs 7
It was a fast start to tonight’s game with the Pontiacs coming right at the Cru with a couple of chances stopped by Zac Klassen. The Crusaders immediately responded with a chance of their own, Oszytko bounced the puck off the boards to himself then found Tyler Maltby who threw it in front of the goal, unfortunately, nobody was able to get a stick on it. With the first two minutes going the way they did, a tone was set on how both teams would play the rest of this game. For the rest of the period, checks were finished at every opportunity and both sides had big chances at both ends. The scoring was opened up when Bonnyville forward, Derek Brown, jumped on a shot rebound given up after Klassen couldn’t control an Aston slap shot. Klassen seemed a bit shaky in the first, giving up a lot of rebounds and couldn’t settle into the game. The Crusaders did bail out their netminder however, Tyler Maltby set up Cam Reagan for a huge slap shot which rebounded right to Oszytko’s stick for his 16th goal of the year. The period settled down for a while after that was until the Cru had a bad line change gifting the Pontiacs with a one-on-one chance. That bad change led to Bonnyville’s second goal after Klassen saved the initial shot but couldn’t stop the following chance by Oliver. To finish off the period, Golwlicki scored with 14 seconds left extending the Pontiacs lead.
On to the second where Bonnyville find themselves with a 3-1 lead. The Crusaders failed to put much pressure on the Bonnyville netminder after only producing seven shots. Despite that, the boys did have some decent scoring chances but the Pontiacs were playing strong on the defensive front. The two best chances came at opposite ends of the period, the first came from J. Zaharichuk who showed patience holding until the puck until the door opened then released a good wrister on goal. The second came with 20 seconds left, Ben Sowa unleashed a slap shot from the blue line but nobody could capitalize on the rebound. On the same play, however, a lazy pass from Zaharichuk sent P.J. Marrocco away down the ice to score with three seconds left in the period. After two, the Cru were down after allowing two extremely late goals.
The Crusaders left it too late to make a comeback against a strong Bonnyville team. It’s those early/late goals that kill the Cru almost every game and tonight was a clear example of that. Without those goals, the Cru would’ve been right in the game from start to finish.
- Ben Sowa played outstanding tonight. I thought he left everything out on the ice and really led by example for the full 60 minutes.
- Once the first was over, Zac Klassen settled into his goal and played a fairly solid game. If it wasn’t for that early goal he probably wouldn’t have allowed six.
- Cam Reagan and Jacob Thomas were a reliable pairing tonight at both ends of the ice. One highlight play was when the Pontiacs got another breakaway but were chased down by Thomas stopping an excellent scoring opportunity. This happened right when it seemed the Cru were getting back in the game.
- Tanner Younghans played another physical game whilst showing he’s a top quality offensive player.
- The first line trio of Oszytko, Rotundo, and Maltby were hands down the best line tonight, especially Oszytko. His offensive game has really been shining recently.
- I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. They allowed one goal early in the first and two late in the first/second. They’ve got to figure out a way to stop this from happening.
- Klassen was too shaky in the first.
- Late penalty killed all their momentum. Should be most disciplined when the game is on the line.
- Bad giveaways in their own end.
- Left the comeback too late.
THE TURNING POINT:
When Austin Shmoorkoff took the high-sticking penalty late in the third. This happened right when the Crusaders were getting back in the game but on that ensuing power play, Bonnyville scored and all the momentum was sucked out of the boys. It was a shame considering how hard they worked to pull it within one.
Up next for the Crusaders are the Grande Prairie Storm who currently have a 12-27-6 record. The last time these two teams met it was an overtime thriller with the game winning goal coming from Tyler Maltby. That game will take place right here at the Sherwood Park Arena with the puck dropping at 2:15 pm.