This week on Inside The Cru, Tyler Yaremchuk introduces you to one of the newest members of the organization, Jacob Jonkman!
Sherwood Park Crusaders
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This week on Inside The Cru Tyler Yaremchuk is joined by Crusaders GM Kyle Chase to discuss a busy start to the offseason for the team!
After a brief hiatus, Tyler Yaremchuk is back with another episode of Inside The Cru! This week he chats with Crusaders Head Coach about the season being cancelled & more.
The Crusaders and Saints met this afternoon for the final time in the regular season and even though these two clubs already have the top two spots in the division locked up, this was far from a meaningless hockey game. Considering just how good these two teams have been this season, it’s almost expected that they’ll meet in the North Division finals once again. This was their last chance to get a read on one another before a potential postseason matchup.
So far this season, the Cru have dominated the season series, winning four of their five meetings and outscoring the Saints by 14 goals in the process. The big caveat is that the Saints have rarely been 100% healthy all season and that’s something that could change come playoff time.
The Saints were missing a couple of key pieces today as well with both Ryan Peckford (injured) and Cole Basnett (suspended) were both out of the lineup. They also didn’t have Head Coach Bram Stephen behind the bench as he serves a three-game suspension.
The Crusaders are also still trying to lock down the top spot in the league which would guarantee them home-ice advantage throughout the entire playoffs. These final three games are very important. Here’s how things played out this afternoon:
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Both these teams were moving very well in the opening 20 minutes. The pace was fantastic and at times, the play looked frantic just because of how little time there was to make plays. Space was limited and for the first 15 minutes of the period and in turn, there were very few offensive chances.
Things opened up in the final five minutes as the Crusaders generated a handful of high-quality scoring chances. First, it was a shorthanded two on one where Will Zapernick seamed a pass to Arjun Atwal who couldn’t get off a clean shot. Then just a minute later Jarret White was robbed by Saints goaltender Matt Davis on another two on one. The avalanche of chances continued when Michael Benning seamed a pass up to Bryce Bader who walked in on a breakaway but was denied by the blocker of Davis. In the final minute of the period, with the Crusaders cycling the puck in the offensive zone, Nicholas Magis deflected a puck on net that just slid through the crease.
Despite the late rush of chances, the shot clock was even at eight apiece.
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Just two minutes into the middle frame, the Saints got the games first goal as Luigi Benincasa scored his first career AJHL goal. The Saints held onto that lead for most of the period and honestly, the second period looked a lot like the first. There was a lot of physical play and not a lot of space for the skilled players to get creative.
The Crusaders would tie the game up right around the seven-minute mark of the period when Carter Savoie scored another beauty. He drove wide past a Saints defender, dropped his shoulder to protect the puck, and flipped a shot just over Matt Davis. His 52nd goal of the season was another hi-lite reel goal.
That’s the way things stayed as the teams headed back into the room.
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The way this game was going, it really felt like the next goal would probably be the winner. The Saints got that very important next goal when Graham Gamache jumped on a loose puck and chipped home his 16th of the season. The rookie forward has been one of their most important pieces this season.
The Crusaders got a couple of really good chances to tie the game with back-to-back powerplay opportunities. The first was dominated by their top unit but no matter what they threw towards the net, Matt Davis stopped it. His most impressive stop came when Carter Savoie had a puck bounce right to his stick in the slot, but the Saints goalie sprawled out and kept the puck out.
Right as the second penalty expired, the Saints fired the puck down the ice and forced Carter Gylander out of his net. The Crusaders goaltender couldn’t shoot the puck out of the zone and while he made his way back to the crease, the puck shot over to Saints forward Cam Mitchell who had a wide-open net and for a brief second, it looked like he was going to put the visitors up by two but the puck bounced right over his stick. A massive break for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders missed on another powerplay opportunity with just under five minutes to go and just as that one expired, Jarred White got drilled into the end boards behind the Crusaders. An ugly looking play as White was going full speed. He stayed down for a few minutes. The play resulted in another powerplay for the Crusaders.
They decided to pull Carter Gylander to give themselves a six on four advantage and that proved to be the wrong move as the Saints iced a puck into the empty net just a few seconds after the puck dropped. That secured a victory for Spruce Grove. They would add one more into an empty net, making the final score 4-1.
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- If these two teams do end up meeting in the postseason, it will be another fantastic series and the way these two clubs played this afternoon confirmed it.
- The Crusaders penalty kill was tremendous. Not only did they keep the Saints off the scoresheet, they did a great job of keeping their powerplay to the outside of the offensive zone, and even generated some nice shorthanded chances.
- After scoring his first goal last night, Vincent Scott had another really strong game. He skates hard every single time he touches the ice. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in the lineup during the playoffs.
- I wanted to see a little more from the Crusader’s powerplay early on. It took them a few attempts to really get going today. They did have a few good looks in the second period but when they really needed a goal in the third, their powerplay couldn’t come through. They’ll need their special teams to have more of a killer instinct come playoff time.
- Some of the calls against the Crusaders were borderline penalties (same for the Saints) but the Cru took a few that were certainly avoidable. Tripping penalties in the offensive zone and roughing penalties can’t be happening in the playoffs.
- The Crusaders now have to win out if they want to secure top spot in the AJHL, which is not ideal. It’s certainly do-able, but a win tonight would have made things much easier.
The Crusaders will head out on the road for their final two games of the regular season. They’ll be in Whitecourt on Thursday but before that, they’ll face the Drayton Valley Thunder on Tuesday night. The Cru have dominated the Thunder this season, winning all five meetings.
Your Sherwood Park Crusaders are in a tight race for first place overall in the AJHL as they welcomed the Drayton Valley Thunder to a packed Sherwood Park Arena Saturday. With a record of 46-8-0 for 92 points, the Cru is just two points back from the Okotoks Oilers, but the Oilers have played two more games. Drayton Valley meanwhile comes into Saturday’s matchup with a record of 26-23-7 for 59 points. With both teams a lock for the postseason I was curious to see what kind of effort level the squads would bring to the game.
This week on #InsideTheCru Tyler Yaremchuk chats about a historic week for the Crusaders and talked to the teams goaltending coach Kurtis Mucha!
The Sherwood Park Crusaders continue to cruise through the 2019-2020 season. Holiday Monday the Cru welcomed the lowly Lloydminster Bobcats to a pretty busy Sherwood Park Arena on Family Day. Sherwood Park comes into the matchup with a dominate 45-8-0 record, which puts them in first in the AJHL North standings and second overall in the league (at the time of this writing the Oilers Okotoks are ahead with a record of 44-7-4, gotta love the loser point!). Meanwhile, the Bobcats are having what must feel like a very long season, at 9-39-5 they’re still looking for their 10th win of the year.
Carter Gylander starts for the Crusaders, he posts a 30-4-0 record, with a 2.17 GAA, and a 0.920 save percentage. The Bobcats counter with Josh Dias, he’s 6-29-3 on the year, with a 3.76 GAA, and a save percentage of 0.899.
Edmonton product James Gibson dresses for Sherwood Park for just his fourth game of the season and his very first home game. So far he’s scoreless on the season.
Lloydminster looked hungry for that 10th win as both teams hit the ice to open the game. The Bobcats were throwing the body around and managed to get a decent chance on Gylander in the opening few minutes. However, that didn’t matter much, as it didn’t Sherwood Park long to open the scoring, Jacob Franczak found the back of the net, sucking the wind out of the Bobcat’s sail. Tanner Fincaryk and Jarred White with helpers on the play.
That frustration started to show as Lloydminster continued to lay some hits, which the Cru didn’t take too kindly to. Both Ty Mueller and Sam Carper went to the box for offsetting slashing penalties, but shortly after that Nolen Coventry put his team down a man after some shoving in front of Carter Gylander post-whistle. Sherwood Park rang one off of the post in the opening seconds of the man-advantage, but that was it for the Cru. Carter Savoie was given two-minutes for holding the stick, which killed the remainder of the PP and gave the Bobcats their first 1:20 or so of powerplay time. The ‘cats put a couple of shots to the net, but Gylander kept the green guys up by one.
Rough play continued as the Bobcats kept laying some big hits, a few a little late in my opinion, but Sherwood Park was giving it right back. Nolen Coventry got in penalty trouble again near the end of the first with a tripping call to give the Cru their second powerplay chance, but the period expires with 32 seconds remaining on the man-advantage.
The shot clock shows 10-12 for the Lloydminster Bobcats heading into the second. They’re still very much in the game and if they avoid more penalty trouble Sherwood Park may have some work ahead.
With 6 seconds left on the powerplay, the Crusaders combined on some tic-tac-toe to put themselves up 2-0 to start the second. Michael Benning had a blast from the blue line after some beautiful passing from Arjun Atwal and Reid Irwin to beat Josh Dias.
Blake Sydlowski made it 3-0 for the Cru just a couple of minutes later. He beat Josh Dias five-hole thanks to a pass from James Gibson, which is his first point of the season.
That seemed to be a tipping point for the visitors. Nicholas Magis dropped the gloves with Cameron Aucoin down in Sherwood Park’s end. From where I was sitting it wasn’t even close, Magis fed Aucoin his lunch with one fist after another. The two continued down on the ice until they were separated and before the penalties could even be announced over the PA Matt Shatsky and Chance Adrian had a donnybrook after some pushing and shoving after a whistle. Just some quality fisticuffs on your Family Day at the Sherwood Park Arena.
Magis, Aucoin, Shatsky, and Adrian were each given fighting majors and a game misconduct for the flying fists. Carter Savoie and the Bobcats’ Nolen Coventry were both given 4 minutes each for roughing after the whistle, and Arjun Atwal was given two for the same infraction.
Lloyd’s Chad MacLean was given two for checking from behind and another two for roughing after the whistle which gave the home town crew another chance on the man-advantage. I for one am not shocked that this whole fiasco was kicked off by some Chad behaviour. So much for staying out of penalty trouble.
A pretty uneventful powerplay for the Cru, but just after it expired Max Wutzke scored his first the season banging one off the post to make it 4-0 for the good guys.
The game quieted down after that. Sam Carper gave Sherwood Park another powerplay, he was given two-minutes on a tripping call. Carter Savoie looked a little frustrated after missing the net high, but he banged in his 50th goal of the season seconds later to put the Cru up 5-0. Savoie can thank Benning and Irwin for the assists.
Ty Mueller was given two for high-sticking after some rough stuff off the face-off, definitely a good call, but after the two fell to the ice the Bobcats player got on Mueller’s back and gave him some shots. I thought that was deserving of at least an off-setting penalty.
The second ends with 5 seconds of powerplay time left on the clock, the Crusaders up 5-0, and the shot clock showing 26-16 for the Cru.
The Crusaders seemed to ease off the gas a little bit in the final period and the Bobcats didn’t look like they had much fight left in them. They laid a couple of hits here and there, but it looked like they were ready to just get the hell out of Sherwood Park. I don’t know how they plan to leave though, they’re struggling just to get out of their own zone.
Tanner Fincaryk put a little salt in Lloydminster’s wound to make it 6-0, Jarred White picked up his second helper of the afternoon. Less than a minute later Arjun Atwal got his 34th goal of the season and his 100th point of the season with assists from Benning, and Bryce Bader.
Sherwood Park wins by a final score of 7-0.
- Congratulations to Carter Savoie on his 50th goal of the season and to Arjun Atwal for reaching the 100 point plateau.
- An outstanding game by Carter Gylander, he made 21 stops for his third shutout this season.
- Great work by James Gibson, he got an assist in his very first home game and just fourth game overall this season.
- I still love the new green jerseys, but after getting another look I’m not so crazy about the white helmets. I’d like to see how this kit looks with a green helmet.
- Honestly, I can’t think of anything else, they Crushed the Bobcats with a solid well-rounded game and even stayed out of penalty trouble.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders are back in action Saturday, February 22nd as they host the Drayton Valley Thunder at the Sherwood Park Arena.