The first couple games after an extended break can be tough, but no one expected in this way.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders returned to the Randy Rosen Rink to take on the Whitecourt Wolverines, the same team they defeated heading into the holidays. However, this team looked a little different: Enlisting the help of five affiliate players, fans were seeing some unfamiliar faces. Unfortunately for the Cru, the game got away from them fairly quickly. Goals from Nicolas Porterfied, Thomas Vela and Tyler Mahan sent the Wolverines into the first intermission up 4-0. Cale Ashcroft brought the team within three on the powerplay, and helped outshoot Whitecourt 17-10 in the final 40 minutes, but Mahan and Porterfield both added goals to take a 6-1 decision. Marek Pocherewny made the start, making 17 saves in the loss.
Thursday’s matchup against the Spruce Grove Saints was similar. Braeden Virtue opened the scoring with just under two minutes remaining in the first, but Zac Maxwell tied things up with a shorthanded goal just before the halfway point of the second period. Unfortunately, a powerplay goal by Ewan MacPherson just a couple minutes later and a three goal third period from the Saints sent Sherwood Park home with a 5-1 loss in their return rom the break. Gus Bylin made 29 saves in the contest.
The Crusaders return home to host the Lloydminster Bobcats on January 2nd, in their first game of 2022.