FORT MCMURRAY, AB – It was an unfortunate end to a relatively positive weekend for the Sherwood Park Crusaders as they fell 3-2 to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on the road Saturday night, splitting the two game set at the Casman Centre.
The Crusaders were unable to replicate the success they had on special teams from Friday night against the Oil Barons, as all three Fort McMurray goals came on the power play and two goals given up while the MOB were short-handed.
Sherwood Park opened the scoring just over half way through the first as Ryan Cox scored his team leading 25th of the season.
The Oil Barons would tie things up in the first on a Crusader error at the Oil Barons blue line, Forward Wil Conley would take the puck at the blue line and score Fort McMurray’s first of two short-handed goals, on a clear breakaway beating Goaltender Brandon Vogel.
In the second period, the Crusaders would restore their lead as Defenseman Ben McLeod scored his second of the season at 9:13 of the middle frame.
The 2-1 lead was short lived as minutes later, Jack Hamly would score on the power play for the Oil Barons at 13:56.
Just under three minutes later, Fort McMurray would get their first lead on their second short-handed goal as Defenseman JC Thivierge scored unassisted.
The final 20 minutes would be quite as no scoring occurred with the Oil Barons outshooting the Crusaders 10-6.
The difference was the special teams as the Crusaders went zero for five and allowing two short-handed goals against, and the Oil Barons going one for four on the man-advantage.
Goaltender Brandon Vogel stopped 29 of 32 shots in the loss.
The Crusaders close out the 2017 portion of the season with a record of 17-18-2 and sit in fifth place in the Viterra North Division, one point behind Grande Prairie for fourth place and the final home ice advantage playoff spot.
Sherwood Park will open up the 2018 calendar year this coming Saturday at the Sherwood Park Arena against the aforementioned Grande Prairie Storm.
BOXSCORE: Oil Barons 3 Crusaders 2