Crusaders Host Drumheller

Sherwood Park Crusaders (27-15-2) VS Drumheller Dragons (19-20-5) January 20th, 2016 – 7:00 PM

Media: Crusaders Hockey on AJHL Web TV, Dragons Radio Network

The Sherwood Park Crusaders will be getting a taste of the South the next five days, and no, it’s not a trip to Mexico like the snowbirds do at this time of the year in January.  Sherwood Park plays host to a pair of Viterra South Division teams this week, in fact the Crusaders next four games are against opponents from the 403, Druhmheller, Canmore and both Calgary teams.

Wednesday night Sherwood Park hosts the Drumheller Dragons in the second meeting between the two clubs this season.  Sherwood Park was able to get back on track in 2016, winning both their games last weekend, 7-1 Friday versus Grande Prairie and 5-2 Saturday over the Drayton Valley Thunder.

Saturday night’s win marked the first time since November 20th Sherwood Park won two games in a row.

“It’s good that we are winning games, but at the same time we have to strive to play a complete 60 minutes, and that’s maybe something we haven’t done in [2016] but we are on the right track winning games.”  Says Crusader Goaltender Zac Klassen.

Klassen has won his last three starts and is looking like he is poised for more starts heading into the final 16 games.

“I was really excited to get back in the net after Christmas and really tried to settle down and simplify my game.”  Klassen adds.

Sherwood Park has also been getting some excellent play from their leading scorer Ryan Kruper, who sits tied for second in AJHL scoring with 56 Points.

“It’s huge for me.  I never thought at the start of the year I’d be this high [in the scoring race] I knew I would be a producer on the team but not this high on the leader board.”  Kruper admits.

The RIT commit has 15 Points in his last ten games.

Kruper will look to extend his point and goal scoring streak to three games Wednesday night.

The Crusaders will be seeking a little bit of revenge on the Dragons in their only visit to the Sherwood Park Arena Wednesday, Sherwood Park fell 6-3 on the road to Drumheller back on December 11th, in what was the beginning to a dreadful weekend down south.

“I expect a tough game, they’re a tough big team and last time we played them we didn’t play well.  For us we need to come out strong and come back from what we had down south in Drumheller and show them what we’re made of.”  Adds Kruper.

One of the downfalls in the December 11th game was the allowing of two quick goals in the second period.  Trygve Many Guns and Scott Ivey scored 37 seconds apart to give the Dragons a 5-2 lead heading into the final frame.  A feat the Crusaders could not recover from.

Drumheller was the most active team on the January 10th CJHL/AJHL Trade Deadline making two trades and acquiring a familiar face from the Viterra North Division in Evan Tschumi from the Lloydminster Bobcats in exchange for veteran Ryan Chynoweth. 

Tschumi has a Goal and an Assist in two games for the Dragons.

Drumheller is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.  They are coming off two wins over the Calgary Mustangs and Calgary Canucks outscoring them 8-2 last weekend.

Although it is an out of division matchup tonight, both teams will be desperate for points as a win would lessen the gap with the teams in front of them.  Drumheller sits five points back of the Okotoks Oilers for third place in the South, Okotoks plays in Calgary tonight against the Canucks.  The Crusaders can make ground on the idle Lloydminster Bobcats who are 10 Points in front of Sherwood Park for fourth in the division with 56, the Bobcats also have a game in hand.

Players to watch: For the Crusaders…Forward Cole Chorney is on a five game Point streak, one of those points, a goal of the year candidate against Grande Prairie on Friday, check out the Crusaders Youtube Page for the clip.  Along with Chorney, Coach Tim Fragle juggled the lines this past weekend, putting Brett Van Os and Tyler Maltby with Chorney.  The trio combined for six Points over the weekend…For the Dragons, Forward Levi Wunder leads the way with 19 Goals and 40 Points and is on a three game Point Streak.  Defenseman Clint FIlbrandt has 32 Assists, 10th in the AJHL, second among Defensemen.  Forward Matt Muzyka is second on the team in Goals with 17.  Forward Braeden Salverda has scored in each of the Dragons last three games.

-Story By Taylor Medak