Crusaders 3 – 4 Wolverines OT
It was the first Sunday afternoon game at the Sherwood Park Arena.
The Crusaders were handed their first loss of the season Thursday afternoon against the Camrose Kodiaks. The final result of that game was 6 – 3.
On the other side of the ice, the Wolverines were finishing three games in three nights streak.
Here is how it went:
The Crusaders could not have asked for a better start to the game. A shot from the point squeezed between Xavier Potvin’s pads to give the Crusaders a lead just one minute in. You could see the confidence they got from that goal as they continued their bright start for most of the first.
They had an early power play opportunity after former Crusader Jude Butler took a tripping penalty. Readman provided great puke movement, as per usual, giving linemate Brandon Wallis two great chances. Unfortunately, he was unable to capitalize.
Sam Burford was between the pipes this afternoon, he faced nine shots in the first with the highlight of them came with a minute left. A sprawling save across the crease prevented Whitecourt from tying it up. A clutch save from Burford going into the intermission.
Whitecourt was the stronger side to start the second. They prevented the Crusaders from getting anything going and stopped them from getting a shot in the first five minutes.
Whilst under pressure, the home team did a nice job of getting in front of pucks and breaking down the Wolverines plays. A solid defensive effort by the entire team during that phase.
The Crusaders a got a well-deserved goal after their defensive efforts. Dylan Stewart worked hard in the corner, using his strength to his advantage and drove to the net. The initial shot was stopped by Potvin but the rebound found its way to an open Merritt Oszytko. 2 – 0 Crusaders.
Just a couple of minutes later, the experienced Wolverines got themselves on the scoreboard. Tyr Thompson patiently skated behind the net until Jaedon Leslie became open in the slot and put it passed Burford.
Dylan Stewart restored his two-goal lead after, once again, himself and Ryan McKinnon won the puck battle along the boards. A Wolverines defensive breakdown gave Stewart a clear path to the goal where he made no mistake. 3-1.
One more goal would be added before the end of the period, this time it went in the Wolverines favour. Marc-Antoine Benoit smashed one right over the glove of Sam Burford with just over a minute left in the period.
The Crusaders went into the intermission with a 3-2 lead.
It could not have been a worse start for the home team. Wolverines forward, Liam Motley scored just 35 seconds into the period in a similar fashion to their first goal. Hard work and patience behind the net resulted in another goal. The Crusaders should take note of how easy it was for them to score on those plays.
Whitecourt played a tight defensive game in the third which only allowed the Crusaders to have six shots. The best of them came on a take away from Dylan Stewart who found Zapernick, unfortunately, he could not get a solid attempt off.
Sam Burford made numerous great saves to keep the score tied and send it to overtime.
Whitecourt used their experience to shut down the Crusaders, once again.
Just like the third, Burford kept his team in the game for as long as he could but in the end, he was beaten. Ben Evanish grabbed the Wolverines the win after a play behind the net, again.
- Aiden Yakimchuk and Michael Bentz were a solid pairing. They used their sticks well and finished all of their checks. For a couple of rookies, they played as if they were the veterans.
- The fourth line of Casault, Osepchuk, and Whillans played a great checking role. The trio worked hard at both ends of the ice and made it difficult for Whitecourt whenever they were on the ice.
- Dylan Stewart dominated again and was easily the best Crusader tonight. His linemates Ryan McKinnon and William Zapernick compliment him well.
- Sam Burford made numerous critical saves. Easily his best performances with the C on his chest.
- Did not do enough to prevent the Wolverines behind the net play, despite them doing the same thing over and over again.
- The top line of Readman, Oszytko, and Wallis did not produce enough offense. In games against top teams, you need your best guys to step up.
- They did not get many opportunities on the power play, however, when they were on the PP they could not produce shots. Lots of passing but no end product.
The Crusaders have got crosstown rivals the Spruce Grove Saints coming to town. The Saints are currently sitting with a 3-1-0 record and had a huge win Saturday night over the Bonnyville Pontiacs winning 10-1.
Puck drop is at 8 PM at the Sherwood Park Arena.