It’s never an easy task when you travel to play one of the top Junior A teams in all of Canada, and having to do it back to back nights.
That’s what the Sherwood Park Crusaders had to do this past weekend when they traveled north to Fort McMurray to take on the Oil Barons.
The Crusaders earned a split this past Friday and Saturday, picking up 2 points on Friday night and then getting shutout Saturday night by the 4th ranked team in the CJHL. Even in the win Sherwood Park played from behind.
“I liked our game through 40 minutes as I felt if we stuck with it in the 3rd we could get rewarded and we did.” Said Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle regarding the Crusaders Friday victory.
Sherwood Park was down 3-1 going into the 3rd period, goals from Marshall Donald, a shorthanded goal from former Oil Baron Colton Meaver and the game winner off the stick of Caleb Belter on the Power Play. Fragle was quick to ensure there was not one player who carried the Crusaders to victory Friday night.
“We had many guys play well, it was a team win.” Fragle added.
The Crusaders had done what only one other team all season had done to the Oil Barons, beat them on home ice.
“It was good to get the spilt. However, I feel like we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity after winning Friday night.” says Fragle about the weekend.
The Crusaders essentially played a pretty decent hockey game Saturday night. By looking at the boxscore the Crusaders played 57 minutes and 39 seconds of shutout hockey against the Oil Barons. However, if you can’t score in those 57 plus minutes and allow 3 goals in the 2 minutes and 21 seconds, you won’t be picking up 2 points.
“Our start wasn’t great but we weren’t down after the first period. Unfortunately in the second period there were 2 errors they capitalized on. Our effort was just not right, passing was off and seemed out of sync. Honestly Fort Mac stepped up their game on Saturday as well.” Fragle sid on Saturday’s game.
The 3-0 Saturday night victory for the Mob marked the 2nd time they shutout the Crusaders this season.
“They are a good team, but we have, for the most part, played them tight all season. You have to minimize your mistakes against them because they make the most of their opportunities.” Says Fragle on the season series and the possibility of a 2nd round playoff matchup against the Oil Barons.
The Crusaders will have plenty of practice time leading up to Friday night’s game as they host the Bonnyville Pontiacs for the final time this season. With only 7 games left, Fragle know preparation is key as Friday’s game could be a potential 1st round Playoff matchup.
“We have 7 games left and all our big games. Bonnyville has been playing strong of late and we need to bring a 60 minute effort and maybe more on Friday.”
For tickets to Friday’s game, please call the Crusaders Box Office at 780-417-1175.