SHERWOOD PARK, AB – For only the third time this season, the Sherwood Park Crusaders were able to win both games of a weekend set on home ice Saturday night as the edged out the Canmore Eagles 5-4.
In what was a first period that was largely carried by Canmore it was the Crusaders that were able to strike first with a power play goal courtesy of Ryan Cox, his team leading 26th of the season.
Canmore tied the hockey early on in the second period as Quinto Ong was able to beat Crusader Goaltender Josh Brindza down the right wing side.
Sherwood Park would come alive after the Eagles had tied the game 1:48 into the second period, scoring four in just over 11 minutes.
Affiliate Forward Cameron Aucoin would register his first AJHL point on the Crusaders second goal as Deklan Whillans potted his third of the season at the 6:59 mark.
Sherwood Park kept rolling, specifically Ty Readman. The veteran would score the first of two goals on the evening at 13:28 on the power play on a nice set from Dylan Stewart and Ryan Cox.
Sherwood Park would go two for three on the man advantage Saturday night.
Readman would score his second of the night just under three and a half minutes later making it 4-1.
The Crusaders capped off a stellar middle frame at 18:09 when Forward Tyson Gruninger would score his third goal as a Crusader and eventual second straight game winning goal when he won a race for a puck inside the Eagles zone, bringing it from left to right and tucking it past Canmore netminder Logan Dyck.
Much like Friday night in the Calgary Mustangs, the Canmore Eagles would not back down in the third period, chipping away at the Crusaders 5-1 lead.
An early power play goal in the third from Connor Lyons, a trade deadline acquisition from Fort McMurray, gave the Eagles life as he scored his first with Canmore.
Things would take an unfortunate turn for the Crusaders and Goaltender Josh Brindza, in his Crusader debut, would make a sprawling save in the left part of his crease over a minute after allowing the Lyons power play goal, but did not return to his feet after freezing the puck.
Brindza needed assistance from several Crusader players off the ice, favoring his left leg.
Brandon Vogel would replace Brindza with 15:34 to play.
Eagles leading scorer, Colton Young would make things 5-3 at 12:42 of third.
Canmore was unable to generate a whole lot when they needed to the most.
Max Giangualano would get the Eagles within one with 24 seconds remaining but it was too little too late as the Crusaders handed Canmore their fifth straight loss.
Five Crusaders had multi point games Saturday night, Cox (1G 2A), Stewart (2A), Atwal (2A), Readman (2G) and Jette (2A).
With the win the Crusaders move to 20-19-2 on the season and take over possession of fourth place in the Viterra North Division, the final home ice advantage playoff spot in the division.
BOXSCORE: Crusaders 5 Eagles 4