The Sherwood Park Crusaders will look to buck the trend in their Best of 7 series against the Spruce Grove Saints by being the first team in the series to win on home ice. By doing so the Crusaders would advance to the North Division Final for the first time in 11 seasons.
One trend the Crusaders hope continues is that each team has won back to back games in this series. Sherwood Park taking Games 1 and 2 in Spruce Grove and now coming off a momentous win again in Spruce Grove in Game 5 to lead the series 3-2.
The 5-4 Overtime win in Game 5 from the Crusaders was an emotional one. Both teams traded leads throughout the game but either team was able to pull ahead. Although the Crusaders allowed 2 goals on the Power Play, GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle liked his group’s effort when a man down.
“We had 2 key Penalty Kills when they lead 3-2. We killed them and tied it, then scored on the PP to go up 4-3.” Said Fragle.
Both Power Play goals from the Saints came off the rush in Game 5, the Crusaders were much better in the Defensive Zone when killing Penalties.
The goals Fragle spoke of came off the sticks of Andrew Taverner and Nicholas Jones. 2 players that had been held relatively quiet in Games 3 and 4 in Sherwood Park.
“Jones really stepped up and Taverner finds a way to score goals at key times.” Fragle noted.
Sherwood Park hopes those two can carry over Game 5’s success into Sunday night.
Meanwhile Spruce Grove is looking to recover from the Overtime defeat, and a defeat where they had thought they won.
Early into the 1st Overtime Period, Tyler Busch had thrown the puck to the net, just to the right of Crusader Goaltender Tommy Nixon. The puck found its way into the net, it took a second or two for the officials to realize the puck was in the net. Spruce Grove celebrated and proceeded to leave the ice, all while the Crusaders were protesting that the puck had gone through a hole in the mesh on the right side of the goal. Nixon was down on the ice pointing to the officials where the hole was. After a brief discussion with the Goal Judge, the officials determined that the puck did go through the back of the net and play had to continue.
One of the top players for Spruce Grove in Game 5 was Jarid Hauptman, he had a goal and 2 assists in the loss. The Saints will hope he can continue the offensive output as they try to stay alive in the Post Season.
Once again, discipline will be key for the Crusaders in Game 6. One other thing the Crusaders will need to do and in fact continue from Game 5 is shots. They had the highest output of shots in the series so far and it lead to 5 goals against Saints Goaltender Tanner McCorriston. 37 total and 29 in regulation were the totals for the Crusaders in Game 5.
Spruce Grove will try and avoid elimination and an early exit from the Post Season. The Saints haven’t face elimination in their first series of the Playoffs since 2007 when they defeated the Bonnyville Pontiacs in 5 games. If the Saints do so, Game 7 will be Tuesday in Spruce Grove at the Grant Fuhr Arena.
Puck drop for Game 6 is 7:00 PM, tickets are available at the Crusaders Box Office at the Sherwood Park Arena beginning at 6:00 PM. For more information call 780-417-1175.