Sherwood Park Crusaders (38-18-2) @ Camrose Kodiaks (36-17-4) March 1st, 2016 – 7:00 PM
Media: AJHL Web TV
It’s been quite the run through the gauntlet of the top teams in the AJHL for the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the final few games of the regular season, and it continues Tuesday night on the road in Camrose.
The Crusaders have seemed to found a bit of their stride as they’ve won five games in a row that includes victory over first place Spruce Grove, Lloydminster and are coming off a big weekend that included a victory over the Regular Season Viterra South champions the Brooks Bandits.
“It was a really tough game against [Brooks] and they’re really skilled and have a lot of tough guys to play against. I thought we did a great job in the defensive zone and held to a tight game playing them well.” Says Sherwood Park Defenseman Ben Sowa.
The Crusader veteran chipped in with an Assist in the victory against Brooks on Friday and scored the Game Winning Goalin the first period of Saturday’s 5-1 Win over Fort McMurray at the Sherwood Park Arena.
Sowa is enjoying his best year statically as he has 12 Goals and 24 Assists heading into the final two games of the year.
“I’ve been keeping it simple and just have gone out and done my thing this season.” Sowa adds.
Sherwood Park will hope Sowa can continue the offensive output heading into the Post Season, but first thing is first and that’s a visit to Camrose to take on the Kodiaks.
“They’re a team we really want to beat badly after losing to them earlier this year.” Notes Sowa.
The only other meeting between the two clubs came back on December 2nd as the Kodiaks took down the Crusaders in Sherwood Park 3-1.
Playing in Camrose hasn’t lead to much success this season as the Crusaders dropped both their games at the AJHL Showcase back in October as the annual event made a switch from Spruce Grove to the Rose city this season.
Camrose and Sherwood Park have been similar teams this year in terms of their record but unfortunately the Crusaders sit in fifth place in the Viterra North Division with 78 Points and Camrose is comfortably in second in the South with 76 Points.
The Kodiaks are locked into a Playoff matchup with the Olds Grizzlys and could possibly ice a watered down lineup Tuesday against the Crusaders, who still have yet to find out who their first round opponent will be.
It’s been quite the year for the upper echelon in the North Division and you can include the Crusaders in that conversation. What is really amazing is the fact that 38 wins is the most GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle has had in a season during his tenure.
One more win in the final two games will give Fragle the most Points in a single season as well.
Players To Watch: For the Crusaders, Tyler Maltby became the third Crusader in the last six seasons to score 40 Goals over the weekend, he has a three game Goal streak and tied for a league high seven game Point streak. Rookie Forward Alex Rotundo had three Assists in Saturday’s Win and is seeing more opportunity in different situations with the Regular Season winding down. Forward Ryan Kruper is a point back of Wyatt Noseky of the Olds Grizzlys for the league scoring title, the Grizzlys have three games remaining…For the Kodiaks, Forward Ethan James is riding a four game Point streak and has doubled his Point total with the Kodiaks in almost as many games as he did with Drumheller since being moved in a trade earlier this season. Merrimack commit Cole McBride has a five game Point streak and leads the team in Goals with 30 and is second on the team in scoring with 63 Points, one behind team leader Forward Nelson Gadoury.
-Story By Taylor Medak