FINAL SCORE: Crusaders 1 Oil Barons 2
Crusaders fall 2-1 to the Oil Barons in a close game. A strong effort in a game vs a top team in their division. Despite a bad start, where they allowed 2 first period goals, the team managed to fight back and have a strong second half of the game while managing to lead 36-29 in the shot department. The Crusaders lone goal came at 16:50 in the second period and from then on took control of the game but failed to beat Eric Szudor again. Ultimately the good finish wasn’t good enough and they drop another game to the Barons and have yet to beat them this season.
- The Crusaders had a very strong third period, where they dominated the game while outshooting the Oil Barons 22-8.
- Despite being shorthanded 4 times, they managed to kill off every penalty tonight. The PK unit and strong goaltending from Klassen kept the Crusaders in the game, allowing for the comeback attempt.
- Assistant captain Tyler Maltby, who entered the game as the league’s leading goal scorer, managed to get on the score sheet yet again by scoring his 23rd of the season; keeping him atop the AJHL.
- Alex Rotundo was flying all game long, generating scoring chances as well as drawing the penalty that led to the Crusaders only goal.
- Crusaders Player of the Week, Arjun Atwal, continued his strong play getting the assist on Maltby’s second-period powerplay goal.
- The Crusaders had a very undisciplined night, although they managed to be perfect on the penalty kill, being shorthanded so many times leads to fewer chances for your offense.
- Allowing 2 first period goals was a huge blow to the team, especially allowing a shorthanded goal late in the first period.
- Very bad start where they generated very little in the first with only 8 shots and not much more in the second with only 6 shots. As well, only taking only 14 shots through 40 minutes, and didn’t get their first shot of the second period until halfway through.
- Not only did they generate very little in the first two periods, when they did they didn’t have the net front presence in order to make it tougher on Szudor.
- Many of the scoring chances, especially in the first 2 periods, were from the perimeter and not high danger scoring areas.
- Although the Crusaders outplayed the Oil Barons in the third period, they failed to capitalize on their chances tonight.
THE TURNING POINT
The turning point of the game happened in the second period when Alex Rotundo made his way through 3 players to put a shot on net and draw the hooking penalty. This would eventually lead to Maltby’s PP goal and the Crusaders only goal of the game. After the goal, the Crusaders played their best hockey of the night and outshot the Oil Barons, including 22-8 in the third period. They dominated the rest of the game but ultimately were not able to get a second shot past Szudor in order to force overtime.
Next up on the schedule, the Crusaders take on the Bonnyville Pontiacs who are first in the division. Another tough matchup for the Crusaders on the back-to-back. Puck drop is at 7:00pm, Saturday, at the Sherwood Park Arena.