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Crusaders Look to Finish Off Pontiacs

The Sherwood Park Crusaders are looking to end their weekend on a high note and advance to the 2nd round of the AJHL playoffs for the 3rd straight season if they can get a victory tonight in Bonnyville against the Pontiacs.

Sherwood Park has 3 opportunities to eliminate the Pontiacs after picking up a 3-2 victory in Game 2 of the Best of 5 series.  The Crusaders played a much better defensive game in Friday night’s win compared to Game 1, although, their start once again was not up to par as the Crusaders allowed the games 1st goal for the 2nd straight game. 

“I liked our team’s game in the 2nd and 3rd periods but we’ve done this to ourselves with our poor starts”  Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle says not only on his team’s play but to the fact his team has only led for a total of 2 minutes and 42 seconds in the entire series.

If the Crusaders are to completely shutdown the Pontiacs, they will need to keep Bonnyville Forward Spencer Foo at bay.  The Union College commit scored both goals for the Pontiacs in Game 2 and has 3 of the Pontiacs 7 goals in this series.

“Foo has been very good, he is tough to stop.”  Said Fragle on the Pontiacs Forward.

One of the key players in shutting down Foo will be Crusader Goaltender Tommy Nixon, who rebounded nicely in Game 2 from Game 1.  Nixon stopped 24 of 26 shots in the 3-2 win in Game 2.

“His game was solid.  More in control of his movement.”  Said Fragle on his Goaltender.

The big story line in the 3rd period of Game 2 was the absence of Andrew Taverner, who was putting out an impressive effort for the 2nd straight game. 

Prior to Taverner leaving the game he continued his clutch play in the Post Season with a game tying goal right as time expired in the 1st period.

“We left Taverner for the quick shot option as it was a right handed center man to a left handed shooter.” Said Fragle on the quick play at the end of the period off of a faceoff in the Pontiacs zone.

Taverner will not be available for the Crusaders in Game 3.

Throughout the 3rd period once Taverner had left Fragle juggled the top 6 lines to try an find the right mix, one of the moves was Colten Meaver being paired with Nicholas Jones and Sean MacTavish.

Meaver was able to get the game winning goal with 5.6 seconds remaining in the 3rd from a pass from Nicholas Jones on the Left Wing side.

With Game 3 being do or die for the Pontiacs, you can expect them to come out with a ton of energy in front of the home town crowd at the RJ Lalonde Arena, Fragle knows it will be a tough challenge to finish off Bonnyville Sunday night.

“They will be desperate and they are very good on home ice, we will have our work cut out for us.”  Said Fragle.

Sherwood Park hopes their success on the road against Bonnyville in the Regular Season can carry over to Game 3.  The Crusaders won 2 of 3 games this season at the RJ Lalonde Arena and outscored the Pontiacs 9-4.

Game time is 7:00 PM and is available to watch via AJHL Web TV at fasthockey.com