FINAL SCORE: SHERWOOD PARK 3 SPRUCE GROVE 4 (OT)
(Shot attempts 54-49 For Spruce Grove)
The Crusaders started part 2 of the Movember home and home strong. They came out skating hard, threw a solid check and were firing rubber on net. They hopped out to an early lead thanks to a gorgeous play by Tanner Younghans that was finished by Matthew Dykstra. The Saints evened it up later on, but the Cru kept the pressure on for a good portion of the second period. They were rewarded late as the top line clicked twice with Maltby and Readman both getting goals to put Sherwood Park up by 2 after 40 minutes. The Saints came out hard in the third period and cut the lead in half quickly. The rest of the period was pretty back and forth, but the Saints threw home the tieing goal off a point shot with just over 6 minutes left. Even though the Cru made a very good last second push, this one needed overtime. 3 on 3 overtime can be so unpredictable, one bad bounce and the game is done. That’s exactly how it shook down as a missed opportunity by the Cru ended up going the other way and a bad bounce ended their 6 game winning streak.
- It was all Cru early in this one, they brought the pressure and were pouring pucks towards the net. Shot attempts were 20-14 in favor of Sherwood Park. That’s a 61% Corsi For.
- This was the best game I’ve personally seen from Brett Roberts. #44 was buzzing all over the ice and put himself in a great position to stop the Saints from scoring on a 2 on 1. Made some incredible breakout passes as well. All around a great game.
- The goal that gave Sherwood Park the lead was a thing of beauty. A great cross-ice pass from Tanner Younghans ended with a slick deke from Matthew Dykstra to put it five-hole. Dykstra was very impressive again tonight.
- If Tyler Maltby wants to beat you, he will beat you. Another great example of his combination fo size, speed and skill. The Crusaders will miss him next year when he heads to college. Goal and an assist give him 40 points on the year
- Brett Roberts gets a second point in The Ups all to himself. He blocked a shot in the slot, which likely saved a goal then drew a tripping penalty. He was their best defenseman tonight, possibly best player.
- First line throws a dagger to the Saints with 24 seconds left in the third. Atwal to Maltby to Readman to the back of the net. It’s a treat to watch when this top line clicks.
- Matthew Dykstra has been a machine on the penalty kill all year, he was crucial again tonight. PK was 1/1 tonight.
- Feels good to have confidence between the pipes, Matthew Berlin is giving them that. Another solid game from the newest Crusader.
- The fourth line of Wallis-Stafford-Oszytko were good tonight. They had a good presence in every zone. I was impressed with the energy they brought.
- Towards the end of the first, Spruce Grove started playing a little more physical and the momentum started to shift. It didn’t cost them but still not a great sign if you can’t keep up with the physicality.
- The powerplay looked lost. Couldn’t set up any sort of cycle on their first attempt and even though they threw the puck around well on their second try, they couldn’t get a shot.
- A flat start saw the Crusaders lead cut in half very quickly. The Saints weren’t ready to roll over and die just yet.
- A bad high-sticking penalty by Sowa, gave the Saints an A+ chance to tie this game, a good kill negated that.
- The officiating was not good today. Both teams had the right to be upset. I definitely see the value to keeping the whistle away and letting the game flow, but there were some very blatant misses.
- Late collapse was not good. They had the win in the bag before a rough third period. Saints dominated possession with a 71% Corsi For.
- Too many turnovers killed them late in the third. Some really brainless passes in their own end. Those need to be cut out if you want to consistently compete with the top teams in this league.
- The team can’t let that tieing goal deflate them the way it did. This was still a tied game late in the third and it took the Cru a few minutes to realize that.
- You need to bury every opportunity you get to compete with top teams. Cru didn’t do that and no matter how much they dominated the Saints, it doesn’t matter, they didn’t capitalized and they deserved to lose this one.
THE TURNING POINT
I’m giving a lot of love to Crusaders rookie Brett Roberts tonight. About half way through the second he slid into the slot to block a point Spruce Grove chance that easily could have easily tied the game, instead it was a chance to break out, which resulted in Roberts drawing a tripping penalty which gave the Crusaders all the momentum. Couple goals later in the period made it 3-1 and it can all be traced back to Roberts huge blocked shot. That’s your Crusaders turning point tonight.
The Cru are back at home on Wednesday as they look to get back in the win column against the 4-16-1 Lloydminster Bobcats. Sherwood Park has won both contests this year against Lloyd, outscoring them 10-4. Should be a great chance for the Cru to continue their climb up the AJHL’s North Division, so head to the Sherwood Park Arena and take in the action Wednesday at 7.