This was the second meeting between these two teams this year, losing a tough one 5-4 in there first encounter. The Crusaders are looking to have a big bounce-back game tonight losing four straight, despite playing the top team in the North Division. After the big trade between these two teams earlier in the week, emotions were sure to be high.
Well, not sure what the Cru had for breakfast but if this wasn’t the start they were looking for then I don’t know what is. They came out absolutely flying in the first frame, scoring a quick one just three minutes in by no one else but, Ryan Cox. It was Cox’s first game as a Crusader, and it’s against his former team as well. Go figure. The Cru then got another tally when Garrett Clegg tipped home a point shot.
The Cru really needed this start after a tough few games this past week. Despite being outshot 21-8, they really had some help on the back end by Dechaine who stopped everything that the Oil Barons threw his way. Speaking from a defensive standpoint, Pang had a solid first, with 2 assists and 3 shots. If the Cru have starts like they did this period in the next two, they shouldn’t have a problem holding off top teams in the AJHL.
Two words: Penalty Kill. This period was started off by a huge penalty kill, which actually resulted in an odd-man rush with 20 seconds to go in the kill, which drew a penalty to put the Cru on the power play. Nothing came of it but it was a nice momentum swing. Everything seems to be going the Cru way tonight, from getting pucks deep turning into a scoring chance, to a big defensive block sending them up the ice with steam. The Cru out shot the Oil Barons in the second frame by a count of 14-6. The whole team seems to be rolling tonight, firing everything at the Oil Barons’ netminder.
With 11:36 to go in the period, the second line for the Cru poured tremendous pressure on the Oil Barons creating great scoring chances and eventually put one away. Dylan Stewart to put the Cru up 3-0. Now just when you thought all things were going well , the Oil Barons countered with a late goal of there own to keep themselves within reach and to keep some hope in the locker room. The Cru have played outstanding so far, minimizing their turnovers, and just really playing smart hockey out there. All things looking well for the Cru as we head into the 3rd.
Going into the 3rd, the Cru up 3-1, bounces going their way, everything’s going as planned, there is no way things could go wrong, right? Wrong. This was not what the Cru had imagined, but you don’t always get what you want. It was going well until the Oil Barons got a quick one to put them within one. With about five minutes to go in the 3rd, everything fell apart. Another bad defensive breakdown leads to the Oil barons tieing the game and giving them all the momentum. With 2:10 to go, the Oil barons come down 1 on 1 and ripped one past net miner Dechaine to put them up 4-3. That had sealed the fate for the Cru as the Oil scored an empty netter to make it 5-3.
Now although this wasn’t how they had imagined things would end up, there are many positives to look at. The cru played well, just a few breakdowns, which cost them.
- Once again, Pang had a solid game, creating multiple scoring chances and tallying 2 assists. He now has 17 points in 18 games played with the Cru.
- They needed a big start, and they got it. Scoring two in the first 10 minutes made up for a great first and second period. Everything was going their way.
- The penalty kill was huge tonight, killing off all the chances the Oil Barons threw at them.
Another good game for Dechaine, but not the ending he wanted.
- Despite starting up 3-0, the Cru blew a three-goal lead, allowing the Oil Barons to score 5 unanswered to fuel another crushing loss.
- The Crusaders have now lost 5 straight, bringing their record to 7-10-1. And have lost 2 straight to the AJHL leaders.
- The defense looked good, but it took 2 bad changes which broke down the defense and allowed 2 tough goals.
The Cru are now off to Lloydminister to play the Bobcats, who they defeated during their last meeting by a score of 5-3.