DRUMHELLER, AB – In a game that looked it was going to be the worst of the season, turned into a potential character defining win for the Sherwood Park Crusaders as they won in come from behind fashion, 5-3 over the Drumheller Dragons on the road.
It only took the Drumheller Dragons 23 seconds into the hockey game to get their first shot on goal, which subsequently, was the game’s first goal as Dragons Forward Jordan Taupert was able to beat Crusader Goaltender Joshua Dechaine in tight on the left side of the goal.
The Crusaders could not push back in the first, only mustering a total of five shots on goal to the Dragons 14.
Drumheller would add to their lead at 11:44 as Joren Patenaude made it 2-0 for the Dragons. Then with just under 90 seconds remaining in the period, Dragons captain Brayden Nicholetts put Drumheller up 3-0 with a shot from the point that beat a screened Dechaine on his blocker side.
Sherwood Park would make a goaltending change to start the second period as Brandon Vogel would replace Joshua Dechaine who allowed three goals on 14 shots.
Vogel would be tested early in the second with three shots in the first 1:43, two of them point blank chances, Vogel was perfect in the second, stopping all 11 shots he faced.
The Crusaders had a bit more of a push back in the middle frame, Forward Garrett Clegg would ring a shot of the left post early on in the second during a Crusader power play.
Sherwood Park would get on the board late in the second period as Forward William Zapernick scored his 10th of the season off a two on one with Eric Blanchette.
Things would open up in the third period for the Crusaders as they were able to inch closer to the Drumheller lead.
On a power play near the half way point of the third, Ben McLeod would rip a point shot off the right post. Seconds later on the same power play opportunity, Dylan Stewart received a pass down low from Ty Readman, and took the puck to the net and shooting it on goal. The puck would then rainbow in off of Dragon netminder Hunter Virostek, giving Stewart his 17th of the season.
Sherwood Park would catch a break with 7:45 to play in the game, when Dragon Forward Jordan Taupert would hit Crusader Jacob Fraczak from a dangerous angle in front of the player benches, causing a big scuff up.
Long story short, the Crusaders ended up with a five minute power play as a result of Dragon Defenseman Brayden Nicholetts being assessed a five minute major for fighting against Crusader Forward Ashton Cassault.
The Crusaders took advantage of the opportunity in a big way, scoring two goals to give them their first lead of the hockey game. Forwards Ryan Cox and Erik Miller would score for Sherwood Park, allowing the Crusaders to go three for four with the man advantage Friday night.
Newcomer, Tyler Jette would register his first AJHL point with an assist on the Miller power play goal.
Sherwood Park would have to play a full 80 seconds of six on five as the Dragons pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker.
Ty Readman, who missed 11 of the last 13 would score the empty net goal to give Sherwood Park the 5-3 win. Readman had two assists along with the goal in his return.
Netminder Brandon Vogel made 21 saves and allowed zero goals in relief of Dechaine.
The Crusaders are back in action Saturday night when they travel to Olds to take on the Grizzlys.
BOXSCORE: Crusaders 5 Dragons 3