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Crusaders Visit Saints

The Sherwood Park Crusaders are looking to return to the success that saw them get off to a 7 and 1 start at the beginning of the AJHL season.  Since then it has been ups and down when it comes to winning consistently.  But now, after winning 2 games in a row, the Cru hope to put together another win streak and distance themselves from the pack in the North Division, while trying to inch closer to the first place Ft. McMurray Oil Barons.

The Crusaders will wrap up a 2 game road stint Friday night in Spruce Grove.  After an emotional victory Saturday night against the Brooks Bandits, the Crusaders took that momentum into Calgary last Tuesday and picked up a 5-2 win over the Calgary Mustangs.

“I liked our start on Tuesday. I felt like we had good control of the game start to finish.”

Head Coach and GM Tim Fragle said of his teams play in Calgary.

The victory was to thank in large part of the play of Forward Nicholas Jones, who had one heck of a hockey game.

The 2nd year Crusader put up 4 goals in the 5-2 victory.

“f you score 4 goals in a game in any league it’s something he should be proud of.”  Fragle said of Jones.

The Crusaders will look for that scoring touch from Jones and others in Friday night’s contest with the Saints.

The two teams have faced each other once this year, with the Crusaders picking up a 3-1 victory back in September at the Sherwood Park Arena.  At that time, it was the Crusaders that were extremely hot.  Friday night, it will be the Saints coming into the matchup  a little hotter.

Spruce Grove will be seeking their 7th win in a row and will have the CanAlta Hotels AJHL Player of the Week, Kenny Cameron in between the pipes.

“He is one of the league’s best and I thought he was outstanding in our first meeting of the season. We need to make things difficult for him.”  Fragle said of Cameron.

The Cru held the Saints to only one goal in the first meeting, largely in part of keeping the Saints big guns at bay.

“We did a good job taking away a few of their strengths and we played our puck possession game.  We just need to limit our mistakes and if we do that we limit their chances.”  Fragle adding to the point of shutting down Spruce Grove’s top scorers.

The Saints are led offensively by Parker MacKay (6g 9a 15pts), Cameron Hughes (4g 10a 14pts) and Dylan Hollman (11g 2a 13pts).

If the Crusaders can limit the production of those three, it will greatly better their chances to win, but that’s not all Fragle wants to see from is club.

“We need 60 minute effort of focus to bring a structured game and competitive game to rink.”

It is expected that Tommy Nixon will start, and will be in search of his 3rd straight win.  Also, it was announced Friday that Defenseman Cody Bardock had officially been traded to the Trail Smoke Eaters of the British Columbia Hockey League.