FINAL SCORE: Sherwood Park Crusaders 5 Drayton Valley Thunder 6 (SO)
The Crusaders came out extremely sloppy with zero energy to start the game. As a consequence, the Cru conceded two goals within the first five minutes. The first came from a pass from behind the net to Anzai in front and the second was a tipped in goal courtesy of McPeak. Both of the goals were well deserved for the Valley. Sherwood Park did eventually pick up their game on the powerplay. A slap shot from Reagan bounced off the glass back in front to Younghans who made a sweet pass to Readman to bring the Cru within one. After that, you could see the energy level rise slightly for the Crusaders, both Stafford and Rebelato forced Joe McLeod into making a couple of good stops. Drayton Valley did add another to their total with a nice tic-tac-toe play towards the end of the period. Final score at the end of one was 3-1 to the Thunder.
The second period was a completely different story for the Crusaders. The boys came out very strong, scoring a 1:30 into the period with a goal from Tanner Younghans. This goal gave the Cru plenty of momentum as they really gave it to the Thunder. At the twelve minute mark, Matt Dykstra drove hard to the net hitting the post but fortunately for the Cru Brandon Wallis was there to tie up the game. The Cru had many opportunities to add to their total but couldn’t do so before Drayton Valley scored their fourth. The period ended with the Thunder leading the Cru 4-3, however, the home side dominated the majority of the period. There should’ve been a few more goals for the Cru it’s just too bad they failed to put away their chances.
The Crusaders couldn’t have started the third period in any better way than they did. Merritt Oszytko pounced on a loose puck and slotted it home 12 seconds in. Again, the team built of the goal, however, couldn’t get the puck past the Thunder netminder. A little while later, Drayton Valley stopped all the momentum with a goal from Sherwood Park native Nolan Krewusik, 5-4 Thunder. It was a balanced period until around the final five when the Cru piled on the pressure again. Cam Reagan had a tipped chance bang off the post which was their biggest chance until he eventually tied up the game with two minutes left. This thrilling game still had one more huge opportunity in regulation, the puck bounced over Shmoorkof’s stick sending Orubor on a breakaway, if not for a sprawling save by the Morrissey the Thunder would’ve taken this one.
With the game ending 5-5, the home crowd was treated to an extra five minutes of hockey. Not too much occurred in those five minutes, however, the biggest chance fell Drayton Valley’s way when Morrissey and Younghans had some miscommunication almost resulting in a Valley goal. No extra score in the overtime period meaning we were off to a shootout.
The Crusaders only got one goal in the shootout from Ty Readman. Valley, however, grabbed themselves two with the game winner coming from MacKenzie Harden.
- The Crusaders first line of Readman, Oszytko, and Younghans were outstanding tonight. They played a lot of minutes and the kept the Crusaders in the game.
- Brendan Stafford and Gage Joel both put in solid shifts the Crusaders tonight. They had many opportunities to score and played well at both ends of the ice.
- The offense was there for the Cru tonight scoring five goals. It was just too bad they played awfully defensively.
- They scored early in the second and third which were both excellent ways to start of the period.
- They came out flat and sloppy to start off the game which allowed the Thunder to get and early lead. This lack of effort continued for the whole period.
- Many of Drayton’s goals could’ve been prevented with some extra effort from the Cru defensively.
- The Crusaders usually are a threat to score when any line is on the ice, however, tonight the Cru didn’t get much of an offensive presence from their bottom six.
THE TURNING POINT:
The first five minutes of the game when the Crusaders were pinned in their own end really determined the outcome of the game. They performed lazily and didn’t seem to care what was going to happen. As a result, they conceded two goals which forced them to chase the rest of the game. The Cru are a much better team than Drayton Valley and they did prove that at certain moments tonight. However, you’ve still got to have respect for your opponent no matter what their record is and the Crusaders didn’t to start the game.
The Crusaders play again this upcoming Friday against the Grande Prairie Storm. That game will take place at the Revolution Arena with the puck dropping at 7:30 pm.