The Sherwood Park Crusaders played a unique “home game” in the hometown of Assistant Coach Jeff Woywitka, Vermilion, Alberta, against the Bonnyville Pontiacs. The Vermilion Stadium was jam-packed with fans, and the Crusaders put on the show in the first ever AJHL game in the town. The Crusaders were also seeking revenge on the Pontiacs who beat them 5-1 a few weeks ago at the Sherwood Park Arena.
Sherwood Park got the crowd going early with a goal just 1:32 the game, when Nick Bowman tipped a Michael Benning, shot past Colby Muise give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead. The Crusaders had many chances to double their lead but were denied by some good defensive plays by Bonnyville. Then, at the midway point of the opening period, the game was tied when Cayden Kraus scored shorthanded for the Pontiacs which was their league-leading eighth shorthanded goal of the season. However, the Crusaders did not let goal kill their momentum. With a little over three minutes to play in the period, Jack Hamly scored his first goal in Crusaders colours to give him new team their lead back.
The second period was when Sherwood Park blew off the doors and made the game their own. However, to start the second frame Bonnyville put the Crusaders under a lot of pressure, but Sherwood Park was able to withstand their attack. Not long after, they would be rewarded for their defensive play and got a goal from Brayden Hyland for his seventh goal of the season. Two more goals were added at the back end of the second from Garrett Clegg and Arjun Atwal who extended his point streak to 13 games.
The Pontiacs made a goaltending switch to begin the third period with rookie Easton Hesse coming in to replace Muise who allowed five goals on 25 shots. Bonnyville came out hard in the third and would score early from Joel Ray to make it a 5-2 game. However, again, that goal didn't phase the Crusaders who went down the other end and scored a sixth from Cameron Aucoin. Arjun Atwal then got his team's seventh after a great pass from behind the next from Zafir Rawji. Bonnyville would add one more Daine Dubois making the final score 7-3.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders would like to thank the town of Vermilion for their hospitality. The support you showed us both on and off the ice was extraordinary.