Crusaders drop a 3-2 decision; winning streak ends at five games

Bonnyville, AB: ┬áThe Sherwood Park Crusaders and the Bonnyville Pontiacs continued their long weekend of hockey on Saturday, with the teams’ opposite sides of momentum. The Crusaders came into the game on a five-game winning streak, including Friday night’s overtime win in Sherwood Park. Having lost the last five games against Sherwood Park, Bonnyville was looking to reverse the result at home. Lochlan Gordon made his second start of the Crusaders’ season, while Easton Hesse started his third consecutive start for Bonnyville.

The first period went about as well as it could’ve from a Pontiacs perspective. Bonnyville controlled the play and was rewarded with six and a half minutes left in the frame. Sebastian Tamburro continued his run of form, beating Gordon to break the deadlock. The goal would be the only addition to the scoreboard, as the teams went into the break with the Pontiacs leading 1-0. Shots were 12-7 for Bonnyville.

The middle frame saw goals from both teams, with Bonnyville striking early in the period. Alex Power doubled the Pontiacs lead just four and a half minutes into the second. Sherwood Park struggled to get much towards the net until the late stages of the period. A late period power play got the Crusaders back into the game when Ty Mueller found Liam Hughes for a one-timer from the half wall to cut the lead down to one. The period ended there, as the Pontiacs led 2-1 after 40 minutes. Shots were 18-11 in the period, in favour of Bonnyville.

The third period was controlled by the Crusaders, as they hunted for the tying goal. They threw 19 shots toward Easton Hesse but could not beat the Bonnyville goalie for the goal they needed. A late power play opportunity for the Crusaders seemed like their last chance, so they pulled the goalie for the six on four advantage. Ethan Sundar seemingly put the game out of reach with a shorthanded empty netter to increase the lead to 3-1. However, Sherwood Park wouldn’t go away as Friday night’s hero, Vincent Scott, scored 14 seconds after Sundar to give the Crusaders some hope. It wouldn’t matter, though, as the Pontiacs held on to break their losing streak. Easton Hesse made 35 saves for the win, while Lochlan Gordon made 34 saves in the loss.

The two teams will finish their cohort series Sunday night in Sherwood Park before a weekend off to change the cohorts.