Tonight’s player of the night honour goes to Spruce Grove Saints forward: Cam Mitchell.
Spruce Grove Saints
We’ve reached the 10 game mark of the Crusaders 39th season. Right now, they sit in fifth in the AJHL North Division with a record of 5-4-1… not bad for a team that has 15 rookies occupying their roster.
Crusaders 2 – 5 Saints
A pair of North Division rivals faced off in the AJHL Pre-Showcase game tonight.
The Cru were looking to bounce back from an OT loss at the hands of the Whitecourt Wolverines while Spruce Grove was looking to keep their good start to the season going, they’re currently 3-1-0.
It’s been a crazy week for the Crusaders after acquiring two new defencemen Brendan Kallis, from the Steinbach Pistons of the MJHL, and Kole Bryks, from the Melville Millionaires of the SJHL. On top of that, the team held their training camp this past weekend and had their intra-squad game.
FINAL SCORE: CRUSADERS 6 Spruce Grove 3
That’s six in a row for the Crusaders!
It was a big physical battle from start to finish between these two north division rivals. Both teams struggled in the first to settle into the game which ended up being more of an advantage for the Crusaders since they managed to strike first. Despite how hard the Saints came out to start the second and third, the Crusaders never let those rough starts determine the game. This was a huge test for the Crusaders and they showed up for the occasion, fighting the whole game to make sure their team went home with the W. A much deserved win for the men in white.
- On the lone penalty kill in the first, Wallis stepped up forcing two turnovers, one where he managed to breakaway and was unfortunate not to score.
- It wasn’t only on the penalty kill that the Cru stripped the puck away. I saw three great takeaways in the first that they probably should’ve scored from but were prevented by some solid goaltending.
- Wallis’s goal in the second was huge, he made the most of a mistake from the Saints defenseman and put it top right. Stopped the Saints from getting any more confidence.
- Berlin had another excellent performance for the Crusaders tonight despite allowing three goals.
- The Crusaders penalty kill was unbreakable, Saints had four power plays and couldn’t get anything by them.
- Torontow’s goal gave the Cru a big momentum swing, completely changed the game.
- Overall a great team performance, however, if I was allowed to give out game awards it would’ve gone to Wallis, phenomenal performances.
- Crusaders came out way to casually to start the second and the Saints took full advantage of that scoring 26 seconds in. A couple of minutes after Saints killed off a penalty giving them all the momentum, not the start the Crusaders wanted.
- The Cru couldn’t get themselves set up on the powerplay even though they were given numerous chances.
- Didn’t have a shot on goal until almost nine minutes into the second, luckily for them, Wallis put it home.
- Allowed another early goal to start the third. Again not good.
- The first line was kept fairly quiet for most of the game, did step up towards the end of the third. However, you need your stars to be playing at their best in games like this.
THE TURNING POINT
Chase Torontow’s goal is my turning point, he drove hard to the with six minutes left in the third to give the Cru the lead. After that happen, the Crusaders banged home two more immediately after, one from Atwal and the other Oszytko. Some excellent hockey was played within the two minutes all three of those goals were scored.
Tomorrow night, the Crusaders and Saints see each other again but this time at the Grant Fuhr Arena in Spruce Grove, puck drop is at 7pm. I very much expect it to be just as entertaining as tonight if not better.