Blackfalds Bulldogs Bonnyville Pontiacs Brooks Bandits Calgary Canucks Camrose Kodiaks Canmore Eagles Drayton Valley Thunder Drumheller Dragons Fort McMurray Oil Barons Grande Prairie Storm Lloydminster Bobcats Okotoks Oilers Olds Grizzlys Sherwood Park Crusaders Spruce Grove Saints Whitecourt Wolverines

Cru Look to Build Off Emotional Weekend

If you’ve ever seen the movie Old School with Will Ferrell and Luke Wilson, you’ll remember the scene when Hank decides to go streaking and the famous line he belts out. 

“We’re going streaking!”

Well that’s what it’s been like for the Crusaders this year, in a completely different context.  The Cru have had a 7 game winning streak, a 9 game losing streak and now after winning 2 in a row, hope to be on another one in the positive direction.

With a big 3-1 win over the Spruce Grove Saints, snapping that 9 game losing streak and 5-3 over Fort McMurray last weekend, things do look like they are on the up for Sherwood Park.  The fact that the team has really bought in to what GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle is try to accomplish has paid dividends for the Cru the last 2 games.

“[Everyone] stuck to the game plan and we had contributions from top to bottom in our lineup.”  Fragle recapping last weekend’s victories.

The Crusaders saw all kinds of scoring from all kinds of players last weekend.  The scoring came Even Strength, on the Power Play and Penalty Killing.

“PK has been very strong this year and helped us in the Spruce game as the penalties were 7 to 1.”  Fragle said.

Not only did the PK kill off 12 of 14 penalties in the last 2 games, but converted shorthanded in the 3-1 win against Spruce Grove.

Cameron Brezinski netted only his 2nd AJHL goal in the game against the Saints, and it came on the PK.

“[Cam] has been working his seeds off and he is a guy that will continue to get better as the year goes on.”  Fragle speaking of the 1st year Crusader.

The goal scoring didn’t stop their for Brezinski, an insurance marker in the game against Fort McMurray sealed the victory for the Cru over the number 1 ranked team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

The Crusaders may have tied the Special Teams battle last Friday against Spruce Grove but they won it last game against the Oil Barons.  Going 2 for 5 on the Man Advantage, that included 2 goals from veteran Ryan Kruper.

“It’s simple with Ryan, he goes to the dirty areas.”  Fragle stated.

Going to those dirty areas is what Kruper and the Crusaders will need to do heading into the weekend action as they head down South for 3 games in essentially 2 and a half days.

“It is a very difficult trip. We need to keep our game simple and prepare off-ice accordingly to be ready.”  Said Fragle.

The Crusaders will take on the Brooks Bandits Friday night looking to complete the season series sweep over the defending National Champions.  The Cru picked up a 3-2 OT victory over the Bandits at the Sherwood Park Arena earlier in the season.

The Crusaders will then travel to Drumheller Saturday night to play the Dragons.  It will mark the 2nd time this season the two teams meet after a 4-2 win by the Dragons at the AJHL Showcase in September.

The trip wraps up Sunday afternoon in Calgary where the Cru clash with another Showcase opponent, the Calgary Canucks.  Sherwood Park took the neutral site game 4-3.

Goaltender Tommy Nixon should likely see most of the action this weekend.  The Crusader netminder has gone 2 and 1 since his return from the World Junior A Challenge.

“I think he was good both against Spruce Grove and Fort McMurray and you need goaltending to win games.”  Fragle said of his Goaltender.

Fragle will also be looking to see how newly acquired Forward Colton Meaver fits in.  The 20 year old from Edmonton, Alberta was acquired from Humbolt of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for Defensemen Anthony Kapelke.

“Meaver brings speed and grit. We feel he will help provide offense and experience to our line-up. Unfortunately you have to give something up good to get something good and Anthony was on the wrong side of the deal. Anthony has outstanding character and he will be missed in our room.”  Fragle says about the deal.

The Crusaders have had a tough schedule in the month of November and look to have a strong outing on their 2nd of 3 South Division weekend trips this season.  The Cru return home Wednesday November 27th where they face their arch rival, the Bonnyville Pontiacs.