SHERWOOD PARK, AB – It was another classic between a pair of North Division rivals Sunday afternoon at the Sherwood Park Arena as the Crusaders defeated the Bonnyville Pontiacs 5-4 in overtime.
Sunday's game was full of ups and downs for the Crusaders as they were forced to tie the game twice in regulation.
Sherwood Park scored the only goal of the first period as Eric Blanchette notched his third of the season after the Crusaders had the Pontiacs hemmed in their own zone after a power play.
The Crusaders would fall asleep in the second as the Pontiacs were able to get their first lead of the hockey game with goals from Riley Smith and Kirby Proctor 25 seconds apart 5:02 into the second frame.
Sherwood Park would tie things up on the power play thanks to Forward Ryan Cox, setting things up for an exciting third period.
Bonnyville had hopes of spoiling the Crusaders hopes for a victory on home ice as they scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the third to grab a 4-2 lead.
Things looked bleak for Sherwood Park, but Defenseman Payton McIsaac got the comeback started with an innocent looking shot as he pinched down the left side wall and backhanded a puck towards Pontiacs Goaltender Sandro Sylvestre. Somehow, the rubber found its way through Sylvestre at 13:33 for McIsaac's first AJHL goal.
Momentum swung as the Crusaders pressed every shift after that and at 17:55 Forward Arjun Atwal made a power move off the right wing half wall in Bonnyville's zone and was able to work his way into a prime shooting area and put one past Sylvestre.
60 minutes solved nothing.
In overtime, the Crusaders almost gave the game away immediately as Defenseman Ben McLeod blew a tire behind his own goal attempting to escape pressure, the Pontiacs could not capitalize.
Both teams had good opportunities in the three on three overtime, but at 4:04 Forward Dylan Stewart, much like the Atwal goal, was able to make a move off the half wall and beat his former Goaltender to win the game for the Crusaders 5-4.
The overtime win, was the Crusaders first of the season in the extra frame and was their seventh with at the Sherwood Park Arena this season.
The Crusaders will head south next weekend, with trips to Drumheller and Olds on Friday and Saturday.
BOXSCORE: Crusaders 5 Pontiacs 4 OT