FORT MCMURRAY, AB – In what was the toughest test of the season so far for the Sherwood Park Crusaders, the team showed the ability to keep up with anyone in the AJHL, including the first place Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
The MOB edged out the Crusaders 5-4 Saturday night at the Casman Centre in an up and down affair that saw eight players, on both sides combined, have a multi point game.
Tyler Pang, Ty Readman, Merritt Oszytko and Brandon Wallis all had a goal and an assist for the Crusaders. Pang opened the scoring for Sherwood Park in the first period, giving the Crusaders a 1-0 lead after the opening frame.
The Oil Barons would tie things up right away in the second period, Will Conley scored with 14 seconds into the second en route to a three goal period from the Oil Barons.
Sherwood Park would get within one after a Merritt Oszytko short handed goal less than five minutes into the third period. The goal was the Crusaders league leading fourth short handed marker of the season.
Fort McMurray restored their two goal lead when Jackson Verstraete scored just over three minutes later.
The Crusaders did not quit, and with goals 1:12 apart just after the mid way point of the period courtesy of Wallis and Readman, Sherwood Park was back in the thick of things tying the game, 4-4.
The game winning goal came off the stick of Reed Morison with just under 5:30 to play giving the Oil Barons the 5-4 lead.
Newly acquired Josh Dechaine made 37 saves in his Crusader debut, while Eric Szudor turned away 29 Crusader pucks.
Both teams were held scorless on the power play, Sherwood Park 0/2 while Fort McMurray was 0/3.
Next up for the Crusaders, a visit to Bonnyville Sunday afternoon.
BOXSCORE: Oil Barons 5 Crusaders 4