Having not seen either team since the preseason, there wasn’t much idea of what to expect heading into the matchups against the Blackfalds Bulldogs and Camrose Kodiaks; the latter, even less so.
Friday’s contest was a thriller, as Mitchell Joss opened the scoring less than 60 seconds in on a 3-on-0 chance. Late in the period however, former Crusader Nick Magis beat Gus Bylin on the powerplay to tie the game. No scoring for another 35 minutes, as recently traded Tyler Bates put the Bulldogs up 2-1 with just over five minutes remaining. Not to be outdone, the newest member of the Cru, Michael Lovsin potted his first in green less than a minute later. With about 95 seconds remaining in regulation, Evan Arnold lobbed the puck over Jackson Glassford and sent the Crusaders faithful home with a 3-2 victory.
The next night, the Crusaders and Kodiaks did battle in Viking, Alberta, as the second of two off-site games. Carson Whyte gave Camrose the lead on the powerplay just under 15 minutes in, and Ryan Sullivan extended the lead with about three minutes left in the second. Owen Dean made it 3-0 with seven seconds left in the frame, and Callum Gau potted an empty net marker to make it 4-0. Not for a lack of effort, Sherwood Park kept pushing and Evan Arnold tallied his second goal in as many games to make it 4-1 but that was all the Crusaders could put together.
The Cru now head out on their southern road trip, beginning with the Canmore Eagles on January 11th.