Cru loss puts focus on weekend

The Cru (21-19-6) were handed another tough loss in a 4-1 setback against the Bobcats (15-26-6) on Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Lloydminster.

“We got behind early,” said Crusaders head coach Tim Fragle. “We were down 2-1 after one and had seven glorious scoring chances in the second, but didn’t capitalize. We also made errors on the third and fourth goals against and they did capitalize. In the third, we just sort of spun our wheels.”

With two games back-to-back this weekend against Spruce Grove Saints (28-11-6) at home on Friday and the Bonnyville Pontiacs (25-15-8) in Leduc on Saturday, Fragle knows that every game is important at this time of year.

“They are huge,” Fragle said. “We play Spruce Grove three more times this season, and Bonneyville, we’ve had some really close games with them, but they haven’t gone our way. We have to find a way to get two victories this weekend.”

The Cru currently sit in seventh of eight teams in the North Division of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, two points behind the sixth-sitting Fort McMurray Oil Barons (23-19-4).

Cru in Leduc

With Sherwood Park playing in Leduc this Saturday, there could possibly be some political distractions with the players, but this is not the case according to Fragle.

“The one thing the players do hear is apparently all of Leduc minor hockey, as well as the city, has rallied to fill the building so that is the one thing that, from a player’s perspective, is interesting. You like to play on home ice if the arena is full. Other than that, they don’t think about it too much,” Fragle said.

“From my perspective, I’m under contract to be the coach and general manager of the team, I’m not an owner of the team and I don’t make those decisions, but what I do know is that it is coming down to dollars and cents and support essentially. It has cost them a lot of money to keep the team here in Sherwood Park since they bought it, and they are the decision makers when it comes to that potential move.”

No matter where they play, Fragle insists that, with his help, the Crusaders will do their best to win games. At the same time, it would be tough to leave the Park.

“I think it would be bad because we are the second-longest serving team in the AJHL.” he said. “At 34 years, it wouldn’t be great for us to leave Sherwood Park. I don’t want to, and I know the ownership doesn’t, but as I said, it is coming down to dollars and cents.”

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