The Sherwood Park Crusaders are returning home from a 3 game in 3 nights road trip in Southern Alberta. The Cru picked up an overtime victory in Calgary last Thursday against the Mustangs but could not put together back to back wins, falling to Okotoks 6-1 the next night. Saturday night in Canmore, the Cru fell behind but managed to salvage a point by coming back down from 5-1 to tie the game in the last minute via Stefan Bazar.
“…it was 3 tough opponents.” Crusader Head Coach Tim Fragle said regarding the road trip.
The Crusaders look to rebound as they host the Drayton Valley Thunder Friday night at the Sherwood Park Arena, a team they’ve beaten twice in the first two meeting so far this season. Fragle credits, good team defense and good goaltending in both games. The Cru have held the Thunder to only two goals in the season series while outscoring Drayton Valley by 9 goals. One player that will look to lead the way, is the Crusaders leading scorer, Garth Wallin.
Wallin coming off Pro Hockey Life Player of The Game in the 6-5 Shootout loss versus Canmore, is quietly moving up the leader board in the AJHL scoring race. With 6 goals and 19 assists, Wallin is tied for 20th among AJHL scorers and may be the most underrated player that leads his team in scoring.
“Very underrated offensively but still his strength is being a consistent 200 feet player.” Fragle added about the 20 year old.
Wallin and the Cru have been consistent offensively against the Thunder this year, getting goals from various lines and as well the back end.
Friday’s game marks the first home game since the Crusaders re-vamped the leadership core. With Captain Eric Liknes on the shelf since the beginning of the season, the team decided to remove the interim tag off Captain Blair Mulder who had been wearing the “C” for the injured Likness.
“[Blair] has been solid for us all year, his game hasn’t changed. He is just a steady defender for us.” Fragle noted about Mulder’s play after being named Captain.
The Crusaders are dealing with the injury bug right now, along with Likness, goaltender Matt Tomkins missing significant time, Jesse Wood-Schatz, Ben Carroll and Bowen Croft have also missed their fair share of action. Dillon Massie and Fraser Bulbuc missed games over the weekend but should be ready for Friday.
The Crusaders will be without the services of Defenseman Josh Healey for the next two weeks, as the 18 year old was named to Team Canada West for The World Junior A Challenge in Yartmouth, Nova Scotia November 5th to 11th. The Crusaders had 5 players from their squad invited to the Canada West Selection Camp, due to injuries, Bowen Croft and Matt Tomkins could not attend the camp. The Cru were fortunate enough to have the players that attended the camp in their lineup for the weekend games. Along with Healey, Andrew Taverner and Marshall Donald were able to suit up for the Cru while battling for spots at the Canada West Camp.
The Cru also face the Lloydminster Bobcats this weekend for the first meeting of the season. That game will be Sunday afternoon at the Sherwood Park Arena.
For information and tickets to Friday’s game against Drayton Valley, and Sunday’s game versus Lloydminster, call the Crusaders office at 780-417-1175