Crusaders Hit The Road For Two

Sherwood Park Crusaders @ Bonnyville Pontiacs October 20th, 2015 – 7:30 PM

Media: Pontiacs Radio Network, AJHL Web TV

Sherwood Park Crusaders @ Fort McMurray Oil Barons October 21st, 2015 – 7:30 PM

Media: AJHL Web TV

It will be a test of strengths mid week for Sherwood Park Crusader as they travel on the road for back to back games as they face the Bonnyville Pontiacs Tuesday night and the Fort McMurray Oil Barons Wednesday night.

Normally it’s the weekend the Crusaders play back to back games on the road and usually versus Viterra South Division teams.

Tuesday night will mark the second meeting of the season between Sherwood Park and Bonnyville and the first at the RJ Lalonde this season.  The two teams last met on September 20th in Sherwood Park with the Crusaders winning 5-1 in a game that foreshadowed some early success on Sunday afternoon games for Sherwood Park.

The Crusaders have won 4 games this season on Sunday afternoon games at the Sherwood Park Arena, the most recent, this past Sunday against the Grande Prairie Storm 9-2.

The Crusaders will hope the scoring touch can carry over from the weekend as they clash with a Pontiac team that sits nine points ahead of them in the Viterra North Division standings for third place with a record of 11-5-1 and 23 Points.  Bonnyville is the AJHL’s hottest team having won nine games in a row thanks in large part to Forward Bobby McMann who leads the AJHL with 24 Points heading into Tuesday night and coincidently has a nine game point streak.

In addition to McMann, standout Defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk is right behind McMann in the scoring race with 22 Points.  Sherwood Park will have they’re handful Tuesday night in Bonnyville.

“We’re going to have to play 60 minutes, we’re going to have to forecheck hard, force the play on them.  We don’t want to sit back.”  Says Crusader Forward Ty Readman.

Readman with four goals and six assists so far this season, is on a streak of his own with points in his last three games, all be it not the caliber of McMann but the Crusader rookie has found a grove of late, scoring two Goals and adding an Assist in Sunday’s win plus getting some quality bounces along the way.

“With a bit more confidence after a few bounces, you start to make more plays and hold the puck longer.  Things will go your way if you play the right way.”  Adds Readman.

Sherwood Park will quickly need to move on as they will go from the hottest team in the league to one of the coldest in the AJHL.

The Crusaders will make their first visit to the Casman Centre Wednesday night as they battle the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.  The Crusaders crushed the 1-11-4 MOB 8-3 at the Sherwood Park Arena on September 18th, but a desperate team can sneak up you especially in Fort McMurray.

“It’s an interesting building to play in, it’s a tough place to play.  They’re fans are passionate, we’re going to have to block all that out and play our game.”  Notes Readman on playing in Fort McMurray.

The experience for Readman and the rest of the Crusaders who played in last year’s first round playoff series against the Oil Barons should pay dividends going forward.

The struggles continue in Fort McMurray who has lost four games in a row.

The Crusaders head into the mid week action 7-6-0 sitting in fifth spot in the division with 14 Points with Drayton Valley breathing down their neck and Whitecourt sitting comfortably in fourth with 21 Points.

Head Coach and GM Tim Fragle continues to bolster his roster, after acquiring Defenseman Carter Shukalak, who faired nice with two Points in his Crusader debut on Sunday, has added another Goaltender to the mix, this time from the WHL.  Former Kelowna Rocket Jake Morrissey has been picked up after being released by the Saskatoon Blades.  The Calgary, AB product appeared in 11 Games last season posting a 1.98 G.A.A and a .932 SV% with the Rockets.

Players to watch:  For the Crusaders a plethora of players had excellent games against the Storm on Sunday, Readman, Kempf, Bosse, McAndrews, Van Os, Brezinski and Shukaluk all had multi point games.  Tyler Maltby has 11 Goals on the year and looks to extend a two game goal streak…For the Pontiacs it’s Bobby McMann and Brinson Pasichnuk who are leading the way, in Goal Olivier Charest has won his last six starts including one shutout against Okotoks…On Wednesday it’s the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, veterans Landon Welykholowa and Mark Drohan lead the Oil Barons with 17 and 11 Points respectively after that there is not much to be happy out in MOB country, off season acquisition Ravi Dattani has a 4.07 G.A.A and a .888 SV%.

-Story By Taylor Medak