The Cru looked to bounce back from the disappointing 5-1 loss to Bonnyville on Friday night. In a game that was controlled to the Pontiacs from pretty much the start, things wouldn’t get much easier on Saturday as the Cru welcomed the league’s best team the Brooks Bandits to the Sherwood Park Arena.
The Cru still found themselves in a good spot only two points behind the Pontiacs in the North Division as they looked to make up ground from the loss Friday night. They would be getting Michael Bentz back from his two-game suspension that was handed down for a hit from behind a week earlier.
Fresh off his commitment to Colgate University Carter Gylander drew the start giving Matt Berlin the night off.
Here’s how it went down:
The Cru came out with great energy, already looking better than they did in the loss to Bonnyville the night prior. Both teams played a good first period feeling each other out, trading offensive opportunities. Brooks displayed a great fore-check but Gylander held his own turning away all 13 shots faced in the period.
Garrett Clegg played a physical first period really setting the tone for the Cru. However, penalties became a bit of an issue for them as they took three in the opening frame. Fortunately for them none led to a goal.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net with decent exchanges, taking the scoreless tie into the first intermission.
The second period started off with a flurry of penalties leading to a four on three for the Cru. The advantage showed no reward with them unable to put one in on the man-advantage.
As the period went on the Cru lost some of that first period energy, allowing Brooks too much offensive zone time. Bandits’ scoring attempt after scoring attempt led to Jordan Di Cicco sniping one past Gylander from the face-off circle for the 1-0 lead.
Shortly after their first goal the Bandits would add another with Nathan Plessis snapping home a wrister, glove-side down low for the 2-0 lead. The Cru came close to cutting the Brooks lead in half when William Zapernick and Carter Savoie broke out on a two-on-one. Zapernick fed the cross-ice pass to Savoie who just missed the net.
The physical side of the game continued with Orca Wiesblatt face-washing Michael Bentz later in the period. Brett Wieschorster took exception taking Wiesblatt down to the ice with both players receiving roughing penalties.
Neither team could capitalize the rest of the period with Brooks taking a 2-0 lead into the third period.
The third period belonged to the Bandits. Simon Gravel broke down the wing and sniped one past Gylander and into the net just shy of two minutes into the period to extend their lead to three. A minute later Tanner FIncaryk took an interference penalty.
Then on the power play Gravel banged home his second of the night, through the five-hole of Gylander for the 4-0 lead. The Cru would make a dent however, after a Brooks hooking penalty sent them on the power play.
Tyson Scott fanned on a shot in the slot, but Jacob Franczak was there to clean it up and bury it for the Cru’s first goal of the night.
But Brooks took it right back just 14 seconds later. Tyler Campbell would add a goal for the 5-1 Brooks lead.
A little excitement was added to the lopsided game however, with both teams taking penalty shots. Nathan Plessis took one for Brooks after being hooked on a breakaway but would hit the post.
Then with three minutes left Brandon Wallis took one after a Bandit defenseman covered the puck in the crease. Wallis would be stopped by Brooks goaltender Pierce Charleson.
With under three minutes left Brooks added one more goal while the Cru chipped into the lead with one of their own when Tanner Fincaryk buried one of his own. But too little too late as the Bandits took the victory with the 6-2 score.
- The Cru came out with a bang starting the game with great energy and intensity, looking to redeem themselves from Friday night’s loss.
- Carter Gylander had a solid night, despite giving up six goals he was peppered with shots all night and did the best he could against a great Brooks fore-check.
- The Cru displayed some good physicality despite taking a few too many penalties.
- The power play for the Cru looked good. They opened up good passing lanes and found good opportunities just beat Brooks goaltender Pierce Charleson.
- After a fairly even first period the Cru gave up way too much offensive zone time to the Bandits and it led to two quick goals. The lopsided zone time seemed to carry out through the rest of the game.
- Brooks has good speed and a roster full of great skaters and it showed. At times the Cru looked a little outmatched by the Bandits’ speed.
- For the second night in a row the Cru faced some amazing goaltending. Pierce Charleson turned away 36 of the 38 shots he faced.
- Brooks owned the third period and things really fell apart for the Cru in the final frame. The energy for Sherwood Park was sucked right out of them with the lopsided period.
- Despite putting up 38 shots of their own the Cru allowed 45 against. Carter Gylander did the best he could, and even though Brooks is the best team in the league right now 45 shots is far too many to give your goalie a chance.
The Cru look to snap their two-game losing streak after five days off when they hit the road to take on the Whitecourt Wolverines. Puck drop is at 7:30pm from the Scott Safety Centre.
Following this loss, coming out with a win Friday has extra weight added to it with Bonnyville now currently four points ahead of the Cru in first place of the North Division and Spruce Grove close behind in third place just three points back.