The Sherwood Park Crusaders won their 5th game in a row Friday night in a game that was pre dubbed a potential “Shootout”. The visiting Calgary Mustangs, who came in with the most goals for in the league, and the AJHL’s leading scorer in Damien Kulynych, could not put the elusive nail in the coffin during the 3rd period. After going up 3-1 early in the 3rd, it seemed the Mustangs were on their way to a road victory and snapping a 2 game losing streak. The Crusaders were not ones to lie down in the last 17 and a half minutes, and after numerous chances in the offensive zone, Stefan Bazar netted his 2nd goal of the season at 6:07 into the 3rd, extending his point streak to 5 games. Garth Wallin added an assist on the play and his 4th straight game with a point. Over 3 minutes later, Danny Smith tied the game at 3 on the Power Play. “In the 3rd being down by 2, we showed our character and depth coming back to tie it and eventually take the lead.” Smith said. That lead was short lived, 35 seconds after Dillon Massie’s Short Handed goal, Matt Heseltine tied things back up at 4.
Both teams traded chances late in the game and had dominating shifts in the overtime period.
The Mustangs shot first in the shootout, Matt Heseltine, one of Calgary’s star’s of the evening was stymied by goaltender Jacob Suppes on his attempt. Suppes started in place of injured Matt Tomkins, who should return to the line up next week. Tim Fragle elected to go with Danny Smith first off in the shootout. Smith did not fail, a sleek backhand to forehand deke putting the puck past Mustangs goaltender Ravi Dattani for the 1-0 shootout lead. “ Despite the high score, I thought both goalies played well.” Added Smith. After Blair Wentworth and Dillon Massie traded misses, the league leading scorer heading into Friday’s contest, Damien Kulynych had a chance to make amends for a sub par performance. Kulynych missed blocker side on Suppes, an attempt that summed up the game for him. Crusaders win the shootout 1-0, and the game 5-4 for the 5th win in a row. Smith, who put up an assist along with his goal, gave added praise to his rookie backup goaltender. “Good for [Suppes] throwing up a goose egg in the shootout.”
The Crusaders will call on Jacob Suppes again Saturday night as the Cru look for their 6th victory in a row. No easy task as the Spruce Grove Saints pay a visit to the Sherwood Park Arena. The Saints are coming off a 3-2 loss in Bonnyville on Friday night. It will be the first of 6 meetings between the cross capital region rivals of the season.