Sherwood Park Crusaders (22-9-2) @ Drumheller Dragons (12-18-3) December 11th, 2015 – 730 PM
Media: Dragons Radio Network and AJHL Web TV
Sherwood Park Crusaders (22-9-2)* @ Brooks Bandits (22-6-2)* December12th, 2015 – 7:00 PM
Media: Bandits Radio Network and AJHL Web TV
*record as of December 11th
It’s been six days the Sherwood Park Cursaders last took to the ice to battle an opponent in the Alberta Junior Hockey League schedule. Continuing momentum will be tough after snapping a three game losing streak last weekend with a 3-1 win over the Drayton Valley Thunder.
“Obviously we wanted four points, but the way the boys bounced back Saturday was important for us getting back in the win column. I thought we grinded out the win Saturday night at home being short staffed, and that's what good teams do. We could've used players being away at Team Canada camp as an excuse but everyone stepped up to fill the holes.” Says Crusaders Associate Coach Adam Manah.
The Crusaders were without there leading scorer and arguably their top Defenseman in Tyler Maltby and Chris McKay this past weekend. The two were vying for a spot on Team Canada West, coached by Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle, for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge.
Maltby became the seventh Crusader in the last five years to make Team Canada West, and will be absent for the remainder of the 2015 Calendar year. McKay will return to the Crusader lineup Friday night.
“I think being without Maltby for the next five games will challenge us to fill a big hole up front. We're losing a guy that's scored 25 goals, but to fill that void we will need to score by committee. We will need to keep it simple offensively by creating an active cycle down low, funneling pucks to the net, getting bodies to net front, and having hard net drives.” Said Manah on replacing the scoring.
The Crusaders got scoring from Cameron Brezinski and Cole Chorney on Saturday night, Chorney netted his 11th on the season, which proved to be the game winner.
“Chorney has been real good for us all year since he came in September. He plays with an edge, grittiness, work ethic, and has a good scoring touch around the net. The game winning goal was him simply wanting to win the race to the puck and he flipped it right over the goalies shoulder. The rest of the team really feeds off his effort every night.” Says Manah on Chorney.
Sherwood Park will definitely need their depth to step up over the weekend as Brezsinski, Kruper, Maltby, Chorney and Zaharichuk have been the only Forwards on the active roster providing the scoring for the Crusaders in the last four games.
Friday night Sherwood Park travels to Drumheller for the only time this season to take on the Dragons, who sit in fifth spot in the Viterra South Division with 27 Points and have only two wins in their last 10 games.
“Drumheller will be a real good challenge for us. They are coached well, they compete and play a hard game, and are very aggressive playing a pressure type game. We will need to move pucks quickly, and outwork them in order to have success.” Notes Manah.
Saturday night the focus will shift to Brooks as the Crusaders makes their only appearance at the Centennial Regional Arena to battle the Bandits.
Brooks, once again is at the top of the South Division with 46 Points, that would only be good enough for fifth in the North where the Crusaders sit.
The Bandits have eight wins in their last 10 and have won four games in a row heading into Friday. They are in a tight race for first with Camrose, as they are only a point up on the Kodiaks.
Sherwood Park is looking at this one as another game and not reflecting on how disappointing the result was last time they went up against a top team from the South in Camrose last week at home losing 3-1.
“I think for us as a team it doesn't matter who we are playing on any given night. Every game is tough in this league, and we are trying to prove that we are a legit contender in this league that can contend for a championship come the end of the year. Brooks will present another tough test for us, but we'll prepare the same way we would for any other opponent.” Manah adds.
It will be quite the stretch of games for the Crusaders to finish off 2015, before the holiday break and after this weekend, they host Lloydminster at home and then have a home and home with Spruce Grove next Friday and Saturday.
Players to watch: For the Crusaders, Forwar Cameron Brezinski has found a nose for the net lately, he has four goals in the last four games…For Drumheller, Forward Ryan Chynoweth is riding a six game point streak and is third on the team in points including a team leading 16 goals, both Forward Levi Wunder and Defenseman Clint Filbrandt lead the team with 27 Points…For Brooks, Forward Dylan McCrory leads the team with 15 goals and 37 Points, Goaltender Josh Davies was recently named AJHL Goaltender of The Week and has a league leading 21 Wins for the Bandits.
-Story By Taylor Medak