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Crusaders Seek Redemption Against Saints

Sherwood Park Crusaders (3-2-0) VS Spruce Grove Saints (4-1-0) September 28th, 2016 – 7:00 PM

Media: AJHL WebTV

It was merely 12 days ago when the Sherwood Park Crusaders opened up the 2016-17 AJHL Regular Season with a deploring loss to the Spruce Grove Saints, 6-0 at the Sherwood Park Arena.  Wednesday night, the Crusaders have a chance to vindicate that defeat as they host the Saints for the second time this season.

The Crusaders have looked vastly different since that 6-0 loss on September 16th, they rebounded the very next night to pick up their first victory of the season against the very same Saints. 

Victories against Lloydminster and Canmore in the past week have allowed Sherwood Park to keep pace in the division and can grab a share potentially of first in the Viterra North Division with a win Wednesday night.

It was a big week as well for new Crusader Forward Tanner Younghans who was named the CanAlta Hotels AJHL Player of The Week, scoring four Goals and adding three Assists.  Younghans is tied for second in AJHL scoring with eight Points. 

Many things will be key for the Crusaders Wednesday night to ensure victory but none other than the veterans needing to play like veterans.

Something that did not occur in the first meeting of the season between Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove.

In the 6-0 loss, the Saints had their top older players going, a combined

 eight Points from the likes of Josh Harris, Nicolas Correale, Connor Lukan and Brett Smythe helped the Saints in the victory, we also saw inspired play from the Saints Rookies, three first year players scored their first AJHL Goal for the Saints on opening night.

Sherwood Park was the opposite in that game, with the vets squeezing their sticks just a little too tight and having bounces not go their way, it was a tough hill to climb for the Crusaders.

The Crusaders looked a lot different the very next night in Spruce Grove, doing a plethora of things that were not evident in the 6-0 loss, playing in both ends, being first to pucks and going to the dirty areas.  Top to bottom it was a complete effort, and like we had said, the vets did not come to play opening night which made it tough for the rookies to succeed. 

That was the opposite in Game Two against Spruce Grove.

Rookie Arjun Atwal scored a Hat Trick a put up four Points in the 5-3 Win over the Saints, while veterans Matt Dykstra and Merritt Oszytko netted two and four Points respectively.

Goaltender Zac Klassen was stellar in net for the Crusaders stopping 43 of 46 in Game Two of the Regular Season.

The fourth year Netminder will get the start Wednesday night against the Saints.

Another key element for success will be discipline as it's been an early indication of success for Sherwood Park against Spruce Grove this season.

In the 6-0 loss the Crusaders gave the Saints seven Power Plays while in the 5-3 Win, only two Power Plays surrendered.

Wednesday night's affair is the beginning of a tough week for the Crusaders

 as they see the last two Gas Drive Cup Champions, Spruce Grove Wednesday night and Brooks Saturday at the AJHL Showcase in Camrose, sandwiched in there is Sherwood Park's opening game at the Showcase versus Okotoks which goes Thursday night.

A full preview of the Showcase will be made tomorrow.

-Story By Taylor Medak

(photo courtesy of Target Photography)