This week on #InsideTheCru Tyler Yaremchuk chats with Crusaders GM Kyle Chase about the team’s quiet trade deadline & their recent slide.
After being handed just their fourth loss of the season Wednesday versus Whitecourt, Sherwood Park bounced back into the win column Friday night in Bonnyville with a 4-2 win over the Pontiacs. They’re looking to put together another long win streak as they host the Grande Prairie Storm in a Sunday matinee matchup. Sherwood Park remains in first place in the AJHL North at 36-4-0, 10 points ahead of the second-place Spruce Grove Saints. The visiting Storm is sixth in the North with a record of 16-19-4. Grande Prairie will likely be desperate for a win, after winning four of six games in December, they have just one win in four games to start 2020.
The Cru will need some help from their depth guys this afternoon as both Michael Benning and Carter Savoie are at the Top Prospects Game in Hamilton.
Jordan Frey will start in net for the Crusaders, he comes into the matinee matchup with a 14-2-0 record, a GAA of 2.02, and save percentage of 0.924. At the other end of the rink, Grande Prairie counters with Kaeden Lane. The 18-year-old from Medicine Hat is having a better half to the season, after several games letting in 4, 5, and even 6 goals, Lane hasn’t let in more than 3 since November 15th. He posts a record of 7-9-2, with a GAA of 3.27, and a 0.888 save percentage.
#InsideTheCru is back with its first episode of 2020! Tyler Yaremchuk talks about the team’s 11 game winning streak coming to an end, the upcoming trade deadline, and chats with Captain Arjun Atwal.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders look to continue their domination of the AJHL North as they welcome the Whitecourt Wolverines to the Sherwood Park Arena. Since returning from the holiday break the Crusaders have a record of 3-0, the visiting Wolverines are floating around the .500 mark with a record of 18-15-4 sitting fourth in the north.
The Crusaders are still comfortably in first place in the AJHL North posting a record of 35-3-0, they haven’t lost since December 4th, which was a 5-4 loss versus Bonnyville.
Crusaders goaltender Carter Gylander gets the start after making 21 saves on 22 shots Sunday versus Canmore. He’s second in the league with a 21-1-0 record, a 1.94 GAA, and a 0.928 save percentage. Vincent Duplessis counters for the Wolverines, the Quebec City product has won his last two starts and has a GAA of 2.97 and a respectable 0.904 save percentage.
Congratulations to Cru captain Arjun Atwal, he was named AJHL player of the week. Atwal tallied 7 points, two goals and five assists, in three wins over Spruce Grove, Calgary and Canmore. This is the second time this season Atwal has been named player of the week, the first was back in September where he had 10 points in one week.
Both teams started playing a pretty time game with some back and forth entries, but no shots on net until Whitecourt forced Carter Gylander to make a pad save a little over two minutes in.
Sherwood Park went on the powerplay at the 15:31 mark, Bryce Osepchuk was given two minutes for holding. Shout out to whoever decided to start using the penalty music from the World Juniors, it sounds like embarrassing clown music as the players head to the box. I heard it over the weekend and it’s an awesome touch. Whitecourt did a good job limiting the Cru to just one shot on net, the man-advantage ends and we’re still scoreless.
Reid Irwin made what I thought was an awesome defensive play to stop a lone Wolverine on a breakaway, knocking the player to the ice and into the net, but the officials called a trip and awarded a penalty shot. Whitecourt’s Ethan Green went five-hole, but Carter Gylander made the stop.
Ryan Wallz made it 1-0 Whitecourt after a Crusaders turnover at the Wolverines blue line, Wallz couldn’t be caught and he buried one past Gylander. A great individual effort by Wallz with no assists on the play. Sherwood Park is normally such a tight passing team, but it seems like they’re making some poor decisions and creating turnovers.
Sherwood Park is lucky the first period ends at only 1-0 for Whitecourt, Carter Gylander has made some saves to bail out his team, but the Cru need to create more offence. The shot clock reads 10-13 for the Wolverines.
Head coach Adam Manah brought out the blender during the intermission and switched up the lines. Will Zapernick was put on a line with the Jacobs, Franczak and Kendall, and Jarred White took Zapernick’s place on the top line with Atwal and Savoie.
Bryce Bader laid a big hit along the boards at centre ice and officials rewarded him with a boarding call, giving the Wolverines their first powerplay. An excellent PK from the home team kept Whitecourt to just one shot one net, and the Cru themselves actually had two solid shorthanded chances.
Ryan Wallz walked in and beat Gylander glove side to make it 2-0 for the Wolverines, but after some discussion, the refs waved it off saying the net was off.
It didn’t slow down the Wolverines though, they scored almost immediately to really make it 2-0. Rookie and Sherwood Park native Ben Wood with the goal, Kaleb Erbang with the lone assist.
After calling a timeout the Crusaders seemed to turn things around, putting more pucks on net and more plays together. They need to just shoot more though, the Cru had some solid looks, but many passes were intercepted. We head into the third with Whitecourt up 2-0.
A bit of a better start to the final frame for the Crusaders, a few more solid chances and they look to have more speed to their game.
A powerplay gave them more energy as well, Will Spitzer was given two for hooking, but the Crusaders couldn’t capitalize. The shot clock finally is showing in favour of the Cru.
Nicholas Magis and Ben Wood dropped the gloves, at the 12:30 mark. Wood was looking for some revenge after Magis laid a big hit into the boards earlier. Plenty of big swings, but it was over quickly. Both received five for fighting and game misconducts.
Sherwood Park had a chance to get on the board after a tripping call on Ethan Leyer. It quickly turned into a 5-on-3 for 1:16 after Wolverine’s captain Adam Sandstrom laid a cross-check. With just three defenders on the ice, the Cru finally looked like the strong passing team they usually are. Arjun Atwal made it 2-1 after banging in the puck at the side of the net, Will Zapernick with the helper. The second penalty expired and it remained 2-1, but it definitely gave the Cru a boost.
That boost was immediately deflated seconds later, after Bryce Osepchuk beat Gylander blocker side to put Whitecourt up 3-1. Ethan Leyer and Kaleb Ergang with the assists.
Gylander was pulled with more than four minutes remaining to put an extra man on. The Cru did a good job of keeping the puck in the zone, it’s pretty impressive to play more than 4 minutes without a goalie and not let in an empty netter. They didn’t get many quality chances though.
Whitecourt really wanted this one. Players were blocking shots and their bench was loving it, and Wolverines netminder Vincent Duplessis played outstanding.
The Cru loses for just the fourth time this season, final score 3-1.
- Carter Gylander was great tonight, he was by far the best Crusader. The game likely would have gotten out of hand if he didn’t show up. He made 22 saves in a losing effort.
- A disciplined game from Sherwood Park, just one penalty resulting in a powerplay.
- Another slow start from the Cru. They started sluggish in games over the weekend but were able to pull off wins. That didn’t happen this time, they struggled all night and only looked like the dominating team they usually are in a few brief flashes.
- This team normally makes beautiful passes all night long, but they just couldn’t get it together with Hail Mary and sloppy passes resulting in turnovers.
- Shoot the puck. Even when Sherwood Park started to show signs of life they weren’t putting enough rubber on the net. In the latter half of the second especially they tried to force too many passes instead of simplifying their game and just shooting.
- Sherwood Park needed a 5-on-3 before they were able to convert on the powerplay.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders head to Bonnyville Friday to take on the last team that beat them the Pontiacs. They’ll be back at the Sherwood Park Arena Sunday when the Grande Prairie Storm are in town, puck drop is at 2:15.
It has begun!
The trade deadline week is underway and we’ve started it out with a bang. The Drumheller Dragons acquired veteran goaltender Chris Curr from the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in exchange for future considerations.
photo via Target Photography
The Sherwood Park Crusaders welcome the Canmore Eagles in a Sunday matinee matchup. After last night’s 4-2 win the Cru improved to 34-3-0 on the season. This is the third game in three days on the road for Canmore, they lost Saturday night 4-1 to Spruce Grove and won 4-1 Friday in Fort McMurray. The Eagles sit in fifth place in the AJHL South at 14-22-4.
Carter Gylander gets the start for Sherwood Park after Jordan Frey played last night. The pair have both been solid this season, Gylander comes into today’s game with a 1.99 GAA, a 0.927 save percentage and a record of 20-1-0. At the other end of the ice Devin Chapman starts for the Eagles, he has a GAA of 4.26, a 0.876 save percentage, and a 5-8-0 record.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders welcome the Calgary Canucks to the Sherwood Park Arena tonight in the Cru’s first game of the New Year. They closed out December with a 6-1 win over the Spruce Grove Saints back on the 30th at the Grant Fuhr Arena. The Crusaders remain atop the AJHL North Standings with a record of 33-3-0; meanwhile, the Calgary Canucks are basement dwellers in the AJHL South with a record of 5-33-2. I think we’ll see pretty quickly whether or not this will be a long night for the visitors.
Jordan Frey starts between the pipes for Sherwood Park, Frey comes into tonight posting a stellar GAA of 2.03, a 0.923 save percentage and a record of 13-2-0. The Canucks counter with Connor Martin; he has a GAA of 4.74, a 0.881 save percentage and a record of 3-14-2.
The Canucks aren’t much of an offensive threat; their leading scorer Jackson Zloty has just four goals and 11 assists on the year. We all know how powerful the Crusaders are in the offensive zone, out of the top 20 point-getters in the league, 5 of them play for Sherwood Park.
The two hottest teams in the AJHL’s North Division went head-to-head tonight at the Sherwood Park Arena as the Crusaders played host to the Bonnyville Pontiacs with both teams riding five-game winning streaks. The Pontiacs have been powered by their red-hot offence which has scored 31 goals over the course of their winning streak. For the Crusaders, they’ve been doing an excellent job keeping pucks out of their own net with a GAA of 2.00 in their last five games.
Only one win streak would survive tonight though as these two teams battled it out on Saturday night.
After a week off, Tyler Yaremchuk returns with a new episode of Inside The Cru! This week, he chats with Crusaders Coach Jeff Woywitka about the teams win over Fort Mac, their two draft-eligible players, and an underrated defender.
Currently, on a four-game winning streak, the Sherwood Park Crusaders played host to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. The Barons have been playing some pretty good hockey as of late as well with a 3-2-1 record in December, both of their regulation losses coming at the hands of the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
This is the fifth meeting of the season between these two North Division rivals, and quite frankly, the Cru have dominated the MOB so far this season, winning all four previous matchups by a combined score of 19-5.
Here’s how things went down tonight from the #SPA:
You cannot make mistakes against this Crusaders team. A simple missed pass in the neutral zone by the Oil Barons in the first minute of the game allowed the Crusaders to gain possession and not only resulted in 30 seconds of sustained zone for the teams’ top line, but the first goal of the game as Arjun Atwal fed Will Zapernick behind the net. Zapernick banked it off Oil Barons goaltender Evan Fradette for his 21st goal of the season.
The MOB had an opportunity to take momentum right back with a powerplay but we only able to generate a few outside shots on goal.
Their best chance of the period came with about seven minutes to go when they got a quick two-on-one, but they weren’t able to beat Carter Gylander, who stopped all eight shots he faced.
The home side was able to increase their lead to two when the Barons made yet another costly mistake. A defensive zone turnover by Fort Mac found the stick of Blake Sydlowski, who fired one over the glove have of Fradette.
Evan Fradette was really strong in the opening frame. He stopped 19 shots and a handful of really good chances, but there’s only so much he could do.
Will Zapernick found the back of the net late in the period for his second of the game, and the Cru walked into the locker room with a 3-0 lead.
Going to give major props to the MOB and their Head Coach Bob Beatty. That team showed some incredible fight and found a way to claw back into this hockey game. They were outshot 14- 12, but they started generating some quality scoring chances.
The first came on the powerplay when a nifty passing play resulted in a one-timer from the top of the right-hand circle. That shot was snatched out of the air by the glove hand of Carter Gylander. The next chance was not stopped by #77 in black as Michael Hodge slid a puck under the sprawling Crusaders goaltender.
They would make it 3-2 with a goal in the final five minutes of the frame with a goal from Max Struss, his third of the season.
The Cru had a couple of good chances, their best came off the stick of Matt Statsky, and a few opportunities where they just made a poor decision in the offensive zone and couldn’t turn a ‘B’ level chance into an ‘A’ level chance.
A surge from the MOB in the middle frame really changed the complexion of this hockey game.
The MOB had chances to take over this game, but in the end, some big saves from Gylander and a couple of timely powerplay goals allowed the Crusaders to take the two points.
Arjun Atwal capped off his impressive game (honestly, all of his games are impressive) with a goal and an assist on Connor Hart’s goal in the final five minutes. He was given the Viterra Star of The Game.
Five wins in a row for the Cru as they hold expand their lead atop the North Division to six points.
- The Cru dominated the first period of the game. They came out looking like a very hungry group. They were on every turnover, every loose puck and the scoreboard reflected it. They needed that in the second period.
- Carter Gylander makes tough saves look easy. His lateral movement is incredible, and when you combine that with his size, well, it’s easy to see why he’s one of the best goaltenders in the country.
- They got some luck with a lot of powerplay opportunities in the third, but credit to them for taking full advantage of them.
- They had 52 shots on goal. That’s a major positive.
- I really liked what Blake Sydlowski brought tonight. He scored, got a couple of other chances, and laid out a few hits — really good game from #18.
- They took their foot off the gas in the middle frame, and it almost cost them. Playing down to your opponent can turn into a bad
- Gave the MOB plenty of chances with the powerplay in the first 40 minutes of the game. Their PK bailed them out, but it could have been dangerous.
- There were too many times where they let potential scoring fizzle out. Whether it was not making a simple pass and forcing a shot, or doing the opposite and trying to be too cute.
The Cru will look to make it six wins in a row this Saturday when they host the Bonnyville Pontiacs. These two teams split their first two games against each other earlier this season. Puck drop goes just after 7 from the SPA. Devin Horne will have your Cru Wrap!