The Sherwood Park Crusaders snuck away with a 2-1 come-from-behind win against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Wednesday night.
The Barons opened the game with a power play goal from John Teets at 14:39 in the first and held off the Crusaders until the last 10 minutes of the third period.
Goaltender Matt Tomkins made several key saves near the end of the second period to keep the Cru in it, but after two periods it was still 1-0 Oil Barons. Going into the third, things started to go the Crusaders’ way. At 12:07, Sean MacTavish took a pass from Nicholas Jones and Josh Healey and slid one past the Barons’ goalie. Then, at 15:58 Stefan Bazar sealed the comeback with a feed from Mike Berry. Crusaders coach Tim Fragle wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out, but he liked how the game ended.
“For 40 minutes we just weren’t ready, we were just off,” he said. “In the third period, we got our legs going and started to chip pucks in behind their D and that is our success if we can do that. Then we get some offensive chances by using our speed.”
Another reason for the comeback could have been an emotional boost from the return of the Cru’s captain, Blair Mulder.
“Mulder has been out of our lineup, our captain, he returned after being suspended for three games,” Fragle said. “I thought that on the point tonight he was just rock-solid, we really missed him. It is good to have him back.
“When you look up front, our young guys came through,” he added. “MacTavish stepped up with a big goal. Nick Jones, that whole line of first-year guys, including (Arthur) Gordon, that line provided a good spark for us all night so I was really happy with their play.”
Tomkins, who came away with the first star of the game, saved 34 of the 35 shots fired his way.
The win put Sherwood Park into sixth in the standings, jumping them ahead of the recently-defeated Barons.
Next up for the Crusaders are the Storm in Grande Prairie on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m.
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