The Sherwood Park Crusaders will to win back to back games for the first time since October 20th as they host the Bonnyville Pontiacs for the second time this season. The Cru are coming off a huge 3-0 victory over the Grand Prairie Storm this past Saturday night at the Canada Games Arena. Prior to the Cru getting shutout in GP the night before, it was only the second loss at home for the Storm all season and was Matt Tomkins’ first regular season shutout.
Part of the success offensively was at the hands of second year forward, Andrew Taverner.
“Our first game in GP I felt that we played a strong game we just couldn't quite find a way to score but the effort was there. In our second Game we started to get a couple bounces got two nice goals and karma finely caught up with us as we popped a lucky goal on the PK in the third.”
Taverner had 2 goals in the 3-0 victory including the short handed goal in the third that sealed it for the Cru Saturday night in Grand Prairie.
The spotlight will continue to follow Taverner Wednesday night, as not only he will try to continue his offensive success, but he will face off against a few former teammates that are now with the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
Taverner, along with Pontiacs Dan Wedman and Alex Smith last played together at the Midget Minor AAA level for Edmonton’s South Side Athletic Club. The three have faced off in 2 previous meetings already so far, and Taverner knows when to put the friendship aside.
“It has been pretty neat playing against former team mates from SSAC but at the same time the friendships do not seem to cross over onto the ice. Dan has really stepped his game up this year and [Alex] has really committed to being a role player this year and I wish them the best.”
This game also marks the second time three of the six AJHL players on NHL Central Scouting’s Preliminary rankings list will be in action against each other. And once again, three former teammates at one time, Wedman of the Pontiacs, and the Crusaders Marshall Donald and Andrew Taverner.
“I try not to think too much about the rankings as it is just preliminary stuff but at the same time the three of us have been pretty successful so it's good to get some recognition.” Taverner said.
The Quinnipiac recruit along with Wedman and Donald and 3 other AJHL players are dubbed as ‘C’ Skaters in the rankings.
But with all the similarities, accolades and friendships, Taverner was quick to remind, “When the puck drops all of that goes to the back of your mind as the fight for the two points move into play.”
The Crusaders and Pontiacs will battle for two points Wednesday night at the Sherwood Park Arena at 7pm. With a win, the Cru can pass the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and potentially the Drayton Valley Thunder, who is in action against Lloydminster, and sit tied for fourth with Whitecourt.
For tickets call the Cru office at 780-417-1175