FINAL SCORE: Oil Barons 7 Crusaders 4
It was a tale of two completely different teams. The Fort Mac Oil Barons looking for their 7th consecutive win, while the hometown Crusaders tried to snap a 3 game losing skid.
In the end it was not the result Sherwood Park wanted but compared to the performance they had last time against the Oil Barons the Cru really showed up. Offensively they were led by Tyler Maltby, the Arizona State commit scored his league leading 14th and 15th of the season, pushing him back to a goal per game pace. Inconsistencies defensively ultimately costed them as they had trouble stopping the speedy Oil Barons forwards off the rush. The line of Ralph-Hamly-Cox continued to give the Crusaders back end fits. A solid first period did give fans hope and they dominated possession wise in the 3rd period. However a missed scoring chance and a costly mental error in the 2nd ended up being the turning point of this game.
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- Zac Klassen was very good in the first, stopping 10 out of 12, and wasn’t getting much help early.
- Austin Schmoorkof got his first point of the year when he assisted on Tyler Maltby’s first of the night.
- Ben McLeod had a few nice plays in the first, one resulted in a shot on goal. He kept a good physical presence all night, I was very impressed with him.
- Cru played physical in the first, did a good job of pushing the Barons around.
- Although the results weren’t there Oszytko and Dykstra put good pressure on Fort Mac during the penalty kill. Can’t ask for much more than what they were doing.
- Graham Blanchette has looked really good in his debut, poised with the puck and went hard on the forecheck. Easily one of the hardest workers in the game.
- After starting slow, they started firing the puck in the third, winning the possession battle. They won the scoring attempt battle 35 to 22 for a 61.5% Corsi For.
- Darcy Zaharichuk got his first goal of the year in his 5th game. Good to see him back and the Cru are better when he’s firing on all cylinders.
- They only had one powerplay tonight, but it looked very good, generating 6 shot attempts.
- They needed to get the puck to the net more early, less than 10 shots in the first isn’t good enough. Too many times they tried to force a pass or make a pretty move to the slot.
- Too many odd man rushes, Klassen got hung out to dry on the first goal and bailed them out later in the period. Some bad pinches definitely hurt them.
- They couldn’t stop Fort McMurray’s second line of Cox-Hamly-Ralph as they burnt them 3 times in the first 2 periods.
- Penalty kill gave up 2 goals on 3 chances, not good enough if you want to compete with the top teams.
- A couple of shots that went over Zac Klassen’s blocker, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind having those two back.
- They out chanced Fort Mac the whole third period but couldn’t finish, you need to finish your chances to beat teams like Fort Mac.
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Late in the second period, Tyler Maltby missed a grade A scoring opportunity, which he would usually score. Unfortunate that couldn’t go in and cut the lead to one. But immediately after the team took a too many men penalty and after Fort McMurray capitalized on the powerplay it more or less sucked any momentum the team had going for them.
It sucks to say,but had that chance gone in we may be talking about a Cru win tonight instead of a 7-4 loss.
The Cru are back at home this Sunday at 2:15 against the 4-6-2 Olds Grizzlies. Should be a good matchup and a great chance for Sherwood Park to snap a 4 game losing skid.