SHERWOOD PARK, AB – After splitting games one and two, the Sherwood Park Crusaders will look to take advantage of home ice this coming weekend in their best of five north division quarter final series for games three and four against the Grande Prairie Storm.
The Crusaders had a valiant effort in game two on Thursday in Grande Prairie and rebounded after a game one loss with a 3-2 overtime victory.
“I thought in game one we were sluggish. We didn't really have our legs going, weren't aggressive enough, didn't finish enough checks, and that ultimately led to us not being engaged into the hockey game. Give them credit they played a good game and capitalized on their chances, we did not.” Says Crusaders Head Coach Adam Manah on his team’s effort in game one on Wednesday.
“In game two, however, we looked like us again out there. We played a much better game overall. Had a lot more jump in our step, which led to us being more physical, and outworking them at certain points of the game especially once we went into overtime. That's encouraging to see from our group moving forward into the series. We want to have more jump than them, and hopefully we can continue that. We also did a better job of battling for position at net front in which we got rewarded with all three of our goals.” Added Manah.
The Crusaders are hoping they will be able to carry the success they had against the Storm in the regular season at the Sherwood Park Arena in the present moment.
Sherwood Park was 3-0-0 versus the Storm on home ice in 2017-18 and outscored Grande Prairie 17-9 on home ice.
“We need to try and carry over the momentum from game two. We talk about not getting too high, and not getting too low. I thought we did a good job of that after game one. We wiped the slate clean and came back with a great effort in game two. With that being said, we have to let them know they are in our rink now, and that it is going to be a tough game.” Says Manah on hosting the Storm in games three and four.
The keys in game three and four for the Crusaders will be exactly the same as in games one and two, play physical and lean on the Storm’s skilled players.
In game one, the likes of Edouard Michaud and Justin Bernier, the Storm’s leading scorers in the regular season, had a combined total of four points. In game two, the game the Crusaders won, Michaud and Bernier combined for only two points.
“Physically, mentally, and we are going to look to continue to ware them down as much as we can. We will have to make sure we are getting to the net as much as possible and fighting for that ice in the house area. Build on the positive from game two, and hopefully use the atmosphere at home to our advantage.” Notes Manah on the keys to games three and four.
It should be an exciting two days of hockey at the Sherwood Park Arena with one team having the chance to advance to the divisional semi finals come Sunday night.
-Story by Taylor Medak