The Sherwood Park Crusaders welcome a familiar foe to the Sherwood Park arena this evening, the Grand Prairie Storm. Looking for their fifth win in a row, the Storm will have to play much better then they have on the road this year, a 1-2-1 record including the season opener loss back on September 7th in Sherwood Park. Since then both teams have endured success putting together winning streaks and kept within reach of division leading Bonnyville. With a win, the Cru can take over sole possession of second place in the North, the Storm would move into a tie for second with Whitecourt and Spruce Grove with a victory.
One of the match-ups to watch tonight is in goal. Matt Tomkins returns between the pipes for Tim Fragle’s Crusaders after missing the last 2 games with a lower body injury, and Storm goaltender Curtis Skip, who comes off a one goal 35 save performance in Grand Prairie’s 2-1 over Okotoks last week. Skip is also among goaltending leaders with a 2.01 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. Both goalies have the potential to keep this a tight affair.
Both teams will have their hands full with each others offensive leaders, Gus Correale and Sam Lawson lead the way for the Storm with 11 points each, while Garth Wallin continues his impressive start to the season with 12 points. Wallin had 4 points in the game September 7th against the Storm. Can he continue to roll tonight? Veterans Danny Smith and Stefan Bazar are right behind Wallin with 9 points each.
In the 5-3 victory over the Storm to open up the year, the Crusaders were able to get out to a comfortable 4-1 lead before the Storm rolled back to get with in one and press the Crusaders to the final minute before allowing an empty net goal. 2 out of the 3 Storm goals came on the Power Play in that game, with the fire power the Storm have, the Cru will have to avoid the penalty box as much as possible and not allow the skill of the Storm to take over the hockey game.