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Crusaders Travel South

Sherwood Park Crusaders (17-6-2) @ Okotoks Oilers (13-10-1) November 20th, 2015 – 7:00 PM

Media: Oilers Radio Network, AJHL Web TV

Sherwood Park Crusaders (17-6-2)* @ Canmore Eagles (15-7-2)* November 21st, 2015 – 7:00 PM

*record as of Friday November 20th

Media: AJHL Web TV

It’s been the most successful run in the regular season in more than a decade for the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 24 out of a possible 26 Points have been earned in 13 straight games for the Cru. 

And there are no signs of slowing down.

The Crusaders rebounded after an emotional 2-1 Overtime loss to Lloydminster last Saturday with a 6-1 crushing of the Grande Prairie Storm on Wednesday night.

“Overall it was a solid effort.”  Says Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle.

The solid effort was cemented off the stick of Forward Tyler Maltby who netted a Hat Trick and leads the league in Goals with 22 heading into this weekend’s action.

Maltby isn’t about to take all the credit for the scoring prowess.

“My line has been moving the puck well, cycling the puck well and causing chaos for the other team.”  Notted Maltby.

The Sherwood Park native has been playing with Ryan Kruper and Cameron Brezinski of late, both of those players have six points in their last three games.

The Crusaders top line will look to continue their momentum into the weekend beginning Friday in Okotoks as they battle one of the Viterra South Divisions top teams at home.

“They are very good on home ice, 8-2!  They’re a solid structured team that plays the right way.”  Says Fragle.

Friday’s game will mark the final meeting of the season between the Crusaders and the Oilers as Sherwood Park edged out Okotoks 4-3 back on October 24th in Sherwood Park.

Saturday night, the Crusaders travel to the Bow Valley and take on one of the leagues hottest teams, the Canmore Eagles.  Depending on the Eagles results this weekend, they could be sitting a top of the Viterra South Division Standings at some point.

Canmore boasts one of the best offensive attacks in the South and will provide stiff competition going up against the leagues second highest scoring team in Sherwood Park.

The Crusaders have seen the Eagles attack front and centre, when the two teams clashed at the AJHL Showcase in Camrose in early October.  Canmore downed Sherwood Park 5-3.

In addition, Saturday will be a battle of the five of the top six leading scorers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Canmore’s Matt Forchuk, who leads the league with 38 Points, Lane Olson and Logan Ferguson, the raining AJHL Player Of The Week, are three of the top four scorers with the Crusaders Tyler Maltby and Ryan Kruper sitting fifth and sixth with 31 Points.

“They are one of the hottest teams in the AJHL and again very strong at home! They have one very strong line and a solid defensive core.  Defending the right way can slow down any players regardless if they are in the top of league scoring.”  Says Fragle on going up against the Eagles.

“We play two good teams this weekend, both with lots of skill.  I think we outmatch are opponents with size and team toughness.  If we play a hard hitting game, we will wear down both Okotoks and Canmore.”  Maltby said heading into the weekend.

Two big side stories heading into the weekend, one positive one negative.  Forward Cole Chorney will miss this weekend’s action due to a two game suspension for a cross checking major he was assessed at the end of Wednesday’s game against Grande Prairie.  On the good side of things, Defenseman Chris McKay has committed to the Rochester Institute of Technology of the Atlantic Hockey Conference in Division One of the NCAA.  McKay is riding a seven game Point streak.

“I’m excited for him, most proud of how much his game has developed over the last year in half with our program. “  Says Fragle on McKay’s commitment.

McKay becomes the second Crusader in the last three years to commit to RIT.  Former Crusader Danny Smith is in his Junior year with the Tigers.

Players To Watch: For Sherwood Park, will Chris McKay continue his seven game Point streak, the trend has been Goal, Assist, Goal, if it continues McKay should net an Assist Friday…how will FWD Tyler Maltby handle the growing target on his back and can his linemates in Ryan Kruper and Cameron Brezinski continue their offensive success of late…For the Oilers, Forwards Trey DeGraaf, Colin O’Neill and Matt McNair all have over 20 Points, McNair leads the team with 14 Goals…Defenseman Carson Beers chips in on the back end with 13 Assists…The Eagles have three of the top four leading scorers in the AJHL,  FWD Matt Forchuk has 15 Goals and 23 Assists to lead the league with 38 Points heading into the weekend, Forwards Lane Olson and Logan Ferguson have 33 and 32 Points respectively.  Ferguson had two goals and seven Assists in three games last week to receive the CanAlta Hotels Player Of The Week honors.

-Story By Taylor Medak