The Cru looked to get back into the win column on Friday night after being handed a dominating loss two nights before Fort McMurray by a score of 8-4. The Cru was enjoying a five-game win streak before the harsh loss earlier in the week.
The team would be without defensemen Jayden Platz, who was suspended for one game by the AJHL after he took his second instigator penalty of the season in the loss to the Oil Barons on Wednesday night.
Coming into the game, Sherwood Park found themselves two points behind the Bonnyville Pontiacs for first place in the North Division. A win against a Lloydminster Bobcats team that sat at the bottom of the division with just 11 points would put them in a tie for the top spot. The Cru would be starting backup goaltender Carter Gylander giving Matt Berlin the night off.
Before the puck drop, Carter Savoie was awarded the player of the month for the Crusaders for October.
Here’s how it went down:
It was a fast-paced and physical first period with each team taking two penalties apiece. Early in the opening frame, Carter Savoie took a knee on knee hit from Brody Madarash. Savoie was slow to get up but eventually skated to the bench on his own and remained in the game.
The hit put the Cru on the powerplay, but they couldn’t capitalize. In fact, it was the Bobcats who would end up scoring on their first shot of the game. Tucker Scantlebury broke out down the wing and sniped it past Carter Gylander for the shorthanded goal.
It only took 30 seconds for the Cru to answer back with Carter Savoie banging one home over the glove of Cale Elder for the 1-1 tie.
The Cru was able to dominate the first-period outshooting Lloydminster 14-5 coming up with a plethora of scoring chances. Brandon Wallis took the puck in the slot off a Lloyd turnover, and rifled one on net with Brayden Hyland coming close to burying the rebound but Elder made a miraculous save.
The Bobcat goaltender stood on his head the entire period limiting the Cru to just the one goal and the 1-1 tie after the first.
The intensity of the first period carried over into the second with both teams keeping up the physicality and the number of penalties increasing. Michael Benning took a high-sticking penalty just 30 seconds into the second. The advantage didn’t help the Bobcats, however, as Cameron Aucoin broke out down the wing untouched and sniped it past Elder for the shorthanded goal and 2-1 Cru lead.
Four minutes later the Cru would capitalize off one of the many Lloyminster turnovers, this one at their own blue line. Tyson Scott took the puck and dished it to Garrett Clegg who skated through the empty slot, burying it in the net pushing the Cru lead out to 3-1.
Lloydminster cut into that lead just under halfway through the period. Hunter Lamb shot one from the blue-line with it finding its way past Gylander and into the back of the net.
Tempers boiled over when Tucker Scantlebury broke into the zone and took a shot on Gylander after the whistle. Cru players quickly defended their goaltender with a flurry of players crammed into the corner all dropping their gloves. The scrum resulted in four players in the box for roughing and Scantlebury getting an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The penalties continued with a total of 10 coming in the second period. The Cru would find themselves with a two-man advantage towards the end of the frame, and as the power play wound down, Tyson Scott gave the Crusaders a two-goal lead.
Michael Benning kept the puck in the zone on an attempted clear then threw a pass cross-ice to Carter Savoie who found Scott down low with Scott burying it in the back of the net. The penalty-filled period ended with the Cru holding a 4-2.
The scoring quieted down in the third period, but the physicality carried on from start to finish. Brett Wieschorster and Brody Madarash got into it early in the period with Wiecchorster going to the box for elbowing.
Tanner Fincaryk took a hard hit from Bekkam Willis into the boards in the corner behind the Lloydminster net, with Fincaryk’s head taking the brunt of the hit. Thankfully he seemed to be alright as he skated to the bench under his own power. Willis would be handed a boarding penalty.
Two more penalties would be handed out before the end of the game and with the Bobcats pulling their goalie with four minutes left the Cru would add two empty-net goals. One from Garrett Clegg and one from Brayden Hyland.
Both teams got into it again one last time with just 34 seconds left in the game. A scrum started just in front of the penalty box with players from both teams getting into it. As the crowd cleared, Michael Bentz could be heard chirping Willis from the penalty box as the Cru bested to Bobcats in this physical matchup with the 6-2 victory.
- The Cru generated a tonne of scoring chances all game, and it didn’t seem to matter whether they were on the power play or short-handed.
- The Crusaders were able to keep the pressure up all game long while holding Lloydminster to just six shots through the first 28 minutes of play.
- The scoring chances the Cru developed came in large part to the number of turnovers they were able to create. There was an especially significant amount of turnovers in the neutral and offensive zones.
- Carter Savoie adds to his goal total to 16 as he leads the team in goals, points and assists.
- The win gives the Cru 34 points on the year tying them with the Bonnyville Pontiacs for first place in the North Division.
- The Cru took too many penalties. Both teams did. Lloydminster took more, but Sherwood Park needs to play a more disciplined game. There are times to defend your teammates, and they did that in this one, but the number of penalties needs to come down.
- Carter Gylander had a rough first two periods. He gave up two goals on just eight shots, and that allowed the Bobcats to hang around until the two empty net goals.
- The number of scoring chances that came the Cru’s way and you’d hope they would be able to capitalize more. Give credit to Bobcat goaltender Cale Elder for standing on his head, but if the Cru could have capitalized on a few more chances this one would have been over even sooner.
After picking up the win against Lloydminster, the Cru look to push the win streak to two on Saturday night as they take on the Spruce Grove Saints at home before a five-day break. Puck drop from the Spruce Grove Arena is 7 pm.