Injury bug hits Cru once again

When it comes to the calendar changing from 2012 to 2013, the song remains the same for the Sherwood Park Crusaders.

Once again bitten by the injury bug, the Cru have to battle through adversity, something they have been doing for a while this season.

“Just when we were getting healthy we lost a couple of key players to injury,” head coach Tim Fragle said.

“Eric Liknes has a buggered-up knee. He will be getting an MRI on it, but as of right now we aren’t sure of the severity. During the same game against Whitecourt, we also lost Adam Moghrabi with a dislocated shoulder.”

The game was a chippy 5-3 loss to the Wolverines that included Park goals from Stefan Bazar, Dane Phaneuf and Josh Healey. Ryan Kruper took home the game’s Rocky award for a fight and 17 minutes in penalties. The game, a spirited one, had both its ups and downs, with the major down being the loss.

“We just have to stick to our game plan,” Fragle added.

“A team takes shape over the course of a year and injuries are part of the game, at the same time, they help shape a team. The expectations are high for the boys for the rest of the season.”

Currently, the Cru sit in seventh place in the North division of the Alberta Junior Hockey League standings. Garth Wallin continues to lead the team in scoring with 31 points (11 goals and 22 assists), while Mike Berry leads the team in sin bin visitation with 135 penalty minutes. In the crease, Matt Tomkins prolongs his solid season with an 11-9 record that includes a 2.87 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

Having to rise above this season’s hurdles is old hat for the Cru, Fragle believes.

With a few tricks still up his sleeve, Fragle knows that he can help his team become better than they are, but he can’t do it alone.

“We are hoping that some unexpected players will step up in the new year,” he said. “We were so close to a full deck of cards, but now we’ve been bitten by the injury bug again, but that is hockey. At the same time, it’s up to the players to step up and play like I know they can.”

The Crusaders played Thursday night, past press time against the Grizzlys in Olds. Their next game is at home on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2:15 p.m. against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

Sherwood Park News