The Sherwood Park Crusaders (21-18-6) turned in a successful weekend taking three points out of a possible four.
With a shootout loss to the Bonnyville Pontiacs (25-15-8) on Friday, Jan. 18, and a 5-1 trouncing of the Lloydminster Bobcats (14-26-6) the next night, the Cru sit seventh of eight with 48 points in the North Division of the Alberta Junior Hockey league.
“Three points out of the weekend is good,” said head coach Tim Fragle. “Friday night was a tight game and we felt like we let a point get away. We just haven’t had success in the shootout as of late. Earlier in the year, we had some success at it, but in the last three shootouts we haven’t scored a goal. We haven’t scored in our last nine shooters so, we’ve been practicing a lot at that.
“We feel like that one point that gets away could mean the difference right now finishing a bit more ahead in the standings,” he added.
The Saturday game against the Lloydminster Bobcats saw the Cru shake off the loss and get back to basics.
“We had a really good start again,” Fragle said. “We were up 4-0 after one, and that was key. We struck really early in the game, and for the most part, played pretty solid. The second period we had some lapses where Matt Tomkins had to be pretty good in net, but for the most part we had control of the game.”
The Cru’s next game is Tuesday, Jan. 22 against the Bobcats in Lloydminster. This is the Cru’s third game against the Bobcats in under a week. They have beaten the Bobcats handily in the past two contests 11-2.
“Eventually you got to think they will find their game,” Fragle said. “I thought even Saturday night they found it at points in that game.”
On Jan. 10 the AJHL trade deadline came and went without the Cru making a move. According to Fragle, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
“We were looking to upgrade in all positions, except for in net,” he said. “We are happy with our goaltending, but to be honest we talked to everybody and for our situation we just felt like the price was too high. We weren’t willing to give up a good young player and future considerations to get a better player. Every deal we had in the mix was a really steep price and we just felt that standing pat would be the best at this point in time. Guys were calling and going after our best players, but weren’t willing to give much in return. It just didn’t make a lot of sense to make any moves.”
Healey a Buckeye
Cru forward Josh Healey has committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes for the 2013-14 season. In his second year with the Crusaders, Healey had only well wishes for his support group in a press release issued by the team.
“I would like to thank my family, friends and especially my parents for all their support, as well the Crusaders organization in helping me through the complete process of obtaining this scholarship” said Healey.
Healey is the sixth Crusader from this year’s team to commit to a NCAA hockey program. The other Crusaders are: Mike Berry with Bentley University, Andrew Taverner with Quinnipiac University, Danny Smith with the Rochester Institute of Technology, Marshall Donald with Northern Michigan University and Matt Tomkins with Ohio State.
“That is the mandate of our team,” Fragle said. “We try to bring in players to try to get them a scholarship or move onto the Western Hockey League, whatever they want to do. A lot of our good young players have got scholarships and some of our older guys as well, the development is there. We are excited about that.
“Right now we are finally healthy and are starting to see some results on the ice,” he added. “We feel like it is starting to turn around on the ice as well with the commitments, and that basically is what my job is as a coach is to help develop these players.”