FINAL SCORE: Sherwood Park Crusaders 6 – 5 Grande Prairie Storm (OT)
There’s a new star in town and he goes by the name of Gage Joel.
The newly acquired forward, from the Calgary Mustangs, was phenomenal in his debut for the Crusaders. He came out full of energy right from the get-go and you could clearly see his play was rubbing off on his linemates. Joel will definitely be playing a huge part in this teams success for the rest of the season. The centremen ended the night which a goal for himself and was involved in Rebelato’s first goal.
As for the first period, the Crusaders were unfortunate to have no score on the board after 20 as they struck the pipe not once but twice. The first victim was Ryan Rebelato who’s shot from the left side hit the bar after being set up by Joel, the second from Reagan who hammered the woodwork late in the period. Despite the chances, the Cru weren’t the ones to score first after the Storm capitalized on a Matt Dykstra penalty. The goal came from Wenzel who’s shot went right through everybody from the blue line giving the Storm the lead.
The second period started out strong for the Cru with plenty of chances, the best coming from Rotundo who just couldn’t quite get the puck under control. However, the early misses didn’t dampen the team’s confidence, they come out of the period with three goals with two coming from Ryan Rebelato who had his best game as a Crusader tonight. Grande Prairie wouldn’t let the Cru get out of their sights though and responded with two goals for themselves. With those two goals, the Storm chased netminder, Zac Klassen, out of the net leading to Jake Morrissey coming in relief.
The third period continued with more scoring from both teams. Two goals came right away as the Storm struck first with a wraparound attempt which was original stopped by Morrissey but eventually found its way to and open Smith. Right away, though, the Crusaders responded with a beautiful goal from Brendan Stafford where he slid it right under the goalie. Gage Joel also scored his first for the Cru with the puck being slotted right over the goalies right shoulder. With about seven minutes left in the third, Grande Prairie hit the post which seemed to strike energy right through the team. They piled on the pressure from that point on where they grabbed themselves the game-tying goal with 15 seconds left.
Overtime began with the Storm continuing the momentum they gained from the tying goal, however, a moment of brilliance from Alex Rotundo quickly killed that. He took his own faceoff win right down the ice leading to a two on one, finished off by Tyler Maltby.
- Gage Joel proved to the Crusaders organization that he was well worth trading for. He was hands down the best player on the ice tonight.
- Ryan Rebelato grabbed himself two Crusaders goals tonight
- Koletrane Wilson was a stud once again on the Cru backend. On one play he blocked a huge slapshot from the point and you could clearly see he was in pain. Apparently, that didn’t matter to him because he got up and threw himself right in front of another shot.
- Torontow played a nice two-way game, probably the best I have seen him play both ways.
- Morrissey was excellent in relief for the Cru, was unfortunate to have two goals against.
- As a whole, the team was 66% in the faceoff circle tonight. The best coming from Gage Joel who won 11 out of 17.
- Klassen didn’t have his best game and should’ve probably stopped a couple of the goals. We all have our nights, I am confident Klassen can bounce back.
- Our lone powerplay, the unit couldn’t get themselves set up. If they could’ve produced something from it would’ve killed off the Storm.
- On two occasions, the Storm scored late in the period. The Crusaders have got to figure out a way to end/start periods because this does happen in numerous games.
THE TURNING POINT
The turning point tonight actually goes to the losing team. When the Storm hit the post late in the period their whole team just came alive. They came hard at the Crusaders which totally turned the tables because up until that point it seemed like the game was done. Grande Prairie’s efforts were awarded a point which was well deserved.
Up next, the Crusaders hope to extend their win streak as they head down south to take on the Okotoks Oilers. The game will be held at the Pason Centennial Arena this Saturday with puck drop at 7 pm.