Sunday Funday is what the m.o seems for the Sherwood Park Crusaders when playing on the seventh day of the week in 2015-16. Half the Crusaders wins this season (3) have come on Sunday, and when they host the Grande Prairie Storm tomorrow afternoon, they're hoping to make it 4.
The Crusaders are coming off a 3-1 loss on the road Wednesday in Lloydminster. It marked the second loss of the year to the Bobcats, however a much closer game in the minds of the coaching staff.
“We were good for 40 minutes. I thought we were better than the last time we went to Lloydminster as we did a good job in limiting their scoring chances.” Says Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle.
The Crusaders also helped their cause by not taking a penalty thus continuing their perfection on the Penalty Kill in the last four games, killing the last 16 in a row.
“It's getting to better, we are making better reads, blocking more shots and we are all getting on the same page.” Says Fragle.
Being good on the Penalty Kill means keeping games close, and your best Penalty Killer who also needs to keep games close is your Goaltender, Zac Klassen has certainly been able to keep his team involved last week, the fact that Fragle brought in Zach Dyment has looked to push Klassen.
“He has been better. Consistency at this position is the challenge for all Goalies.” Notes Fragle.
Sunday will mark the third meeting of the season between the Crusaders and Storm and the first visit by Grande Prairie to the Sherwood Park Arena. It will be the Storm's third game in as many days, the Crusaders will look to pounce early on.
“A good start is key, we better be ready to work!” Said Fragle.
Both teams had one another on the ropes in their first two meeting to start the regular season, the Crusaders rallying from a 4-0 deficit and the Storm a 3-0, both in the 3rd periods of the first 2 games. The Storm's record of 2-9-2 heading into Saturday night shouldn't fool anyone, they are a much improved team after missing the post season two years in a row.
“They play the game the right way, we need to be committed to playing our game, staying discipline and playing 5 on 5 hockey are keys as well.” Added Fragle.
The Crusaders will once again find themselves looking to keep pace in the division with a record of 6-6-0 and 12 Points. Sherwood Park sits in fifth in the Viterra North Division, eight Points back of fourth place Whitecourt who is in Camrose Saturday night.
Players To Watch: For Sherwood Park it was Tyler Maltby who scored on Wednesday in the 3-1 loss, will the team's other leading scorers step up with Ryan Kruper and Darcy Zaharichuk quite on Wednesday. The Crusaders blue line will have a new face, Evan Bowden suffered and injury in Wednesday's game and could be sidelined for almost a month. Fragle acquired 97 born Defenseman Carter Shukaluk from the Okotoks Oilers. The rookie out of the South Side Athletic Club in Edmonton has one goal and one assist in five games played so far this year…The Storm are led by Blake Bosch (1-11-12) and Luke Mahura (3-8-11). Veterans Ben Assad and Tristan Crozier have supported nicely with nine and seven Points respectively. Josh Zablocki leads the team with five goals.
-Story By Taylor Medak