Sherwood Park Crusaders (34-18-2) VS Lloydminster Bobcats (40-12-2) February 17th, 2016 – 7:00 PM
Wednesday night at the Sherwood Park Arena will be another measuring stick for the Sherwood Park Crusaders as they host the Lloydminster Bobcats for the third and final time this season.
The final meeting of the season between the two North Division clubs will give the Crusaders a chance to see how they matchup against one of the top teams in the country. Ranked 12th in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 Rankings, the Bobcats have been priming themselves all season as they will host the RBC Cup in May.
The Crusaders have faired well against the Bobcats going 2-2-1 in the five games versus Lloydminster this season.
“They’re a hard working team, we’ve matched up well against them the entire year. They’ve been playing real good hockey of late so we have to go with in the mindset that we need to win a game.” Says Crusaders Forward Cameron Brezinski.
The Crusader veteran is definitely making a case for Player of The Month in the AJHL, 13 Points in the six Games Sherwood Park has played in February, scoring five Goals and adding eight Assists.
“[Coach] Tim has been harping on us to move the puck, ‘you see it, you move it’ and I’ve been moving the puck to the guy I see open and it’s been working for me.” Cites Brezinski on stellar month.
It’s been a while since the Bobcats and Crusaders have clashed, Sherwood Park took a thrilling 5-4 game in overtime back in mid December at the Sherwood Park Arena.
It will be a much improved Bobcat team however, 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and have 13 wins since the holiday break.
Lloydminster received some big time recognition earlier in the week as Defenseman Christian Lloyd was named the Can Alta Hotels AJHL Player of The Week and also was nominated for Defenseman of The Year as the AJHL announced its award nominees.
Bobcat Goaltender Alex Leclerc received nominations for League MVP and Top Goaltender. Leclerc has had a tremendous first season in the AJHL, heading into Wednesday’s action the Longueuil, Quebec Native is second in the league in Wins, 27, G.A.A, 2.58 and Save Percentage, .907%
Also, rookie Forward and Cornell University commit, Noah Bauld, was nominated for the League’s Top Rookie Award.
With the Crusaders picking up on one Point in the Home and Home against the Bonnyville Pontiacs and three of a possible six Points for the entire weekend, it’s safe to say, baring anything short of a miracle, Sherwood Park will finish fifth in the Viterra North Division as they currently sit with 70 Points, nine back of the Pontiacs for Fourth and only six games remaining.
The Crusaders, however, can somewhat dictate who they potentially could play in the first round with a victory tonight against Lloydminster.
The Bobcats sit in second place in the division with 82 Points, only one point ahead of the Whitecourt Wolverines and three ahead of the Pontiacs.
A victory for Sherwood Park would keep the gap tight between two to fourth place heading into the weekend.
Players To Watch: For the Crusaders, Forward Cameron Brezinski continues to ride his six game Point streak, while Forward Ryan Kruper has taken over the Leagues scoring lead with 71 Points, he also has an Assist in five straight games. Defenseman Brett Magee has seven Points in his last six Games. For the Bobcats, Forward Kevin Darrar leads the team with 48 Points, 18 Goals and 30 Assists. Acquired at the January 10th Trade Deadline, Forward Ryan Chynoweth is Point Per Game player with the Bobcats in his first 13 Games with four Goals and nine Assists. Goaltender Alex Leclerc is 3-1-1 against the Crusaders this year.
-Story By Taylor Medak