Crusaders Look End Early Season Skid

The Sherwood Park Crusaders will look to avoid a 4th straight loss Sunday afternoon as they host the Lloydminster Bobcats.  The most recent defeat was at the hands of the Whitecourt Wolverines on Thursday night by a score of 6-4, a game that saw the Cru outshoot their opponent and for the 3rd straight with 30 plus shots on goal.

“We’re getting quality chances, just not finishing them off.  [Thursday] was a carbon copy of Wednesday’s game against Camrose.  We out played [Whitecourt] but made errors that ended up in our net, and again, we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”  Head Coach and GM Tim Fragle said of his team’s play from Thursday night.

It’s been a roller coaster start to the year for the Crusaders who won 7 of their first 8 and have gone on the downward trend.

“We’re making mistakes defensively.  Discipline has been an issue and not cashing in on our opportunities.”  Fragle compares the issues amidst the small hiccup his team is going through compared to their 7 game winning streak.

Adding to the issue could be a result of the 5 on 5 play.  9 goals have been scored against Sherwood Park in the last two games when the teams are even strength.

“You can attribute that to puck management. As well as the overall commitment to our team game.”  Fragle added.

With such a young team there are many ups and downs in a season.  Even though the goaltending has been strong for the Cru thus far, it can be demanding with 2 rookie goaltenders, with Tommy Nixon and Zac Klassen learning the ropes in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

“Our goalies have been good up until the last two games.  It will be interesting to see how they bounce back.”  Fragle speaking of his netminders.

Both Nixon and Klassen still have winning records and will nicely pad the stats with a victory Sunday afternoon versus Lloydminster, whoever Tim Fragle names for a starter.

The Bobcats will make their first of 3 visits to the Sherwood Park Arena Sunday afternoon.  Lloyd comes into the game only 2 points behind the Cru with a game in hand.

“It’s a big game, never too early to be talking about a 4 point game.  Lloydminster is a very good team and will provide a good challenge for us.” Fragle said.

The game will mark the second time the 2 teams have faced each other this season, with the Cru getting a victory in Lloyd over the Bobcats in September.

The success in that game was fairly simple for Fragle.

“We cashed in on our chances.  5 goals on 25 shots.”
The Cru got goals from their top guns in that game, a la Andrew Taverner, Nicholas Jones and Sean MacTavish.  Taverner ,who has been held scoreless his last 2 games, will look to extend a point streak to 5 games.

The Bobcats are led offensively by veterans Tanner Dunkle, who has 12 points, Braden Crone, 8 points and newcomer to the Bobcast Tyler Kunz, who only had 10 points last season, has 6 on the season.

For tickets to Sunday’s game please call 780-417-1175, or arrive early to the Sherwood Park Arena and purchase tickets at the Crusaders Box Office.