Although the Sherwood Park Crusaders went 1 and 2 during the week of October 15th to the 22nd, there was lot of positives. 4 Crusaders selected to the Canada West Selection Camp for the World Junior A Challenge, stellar goaltending from Tommy Nixon, and 7 points from Nicholas Jones that translated into the AJHL’s Player of The Week.
“It means a lot, especially because there are a lot great players in this league that easily could have won it. I'm ecstatic that I won it but I couldn't have done it without the guys on the team, especially my line mates Sean MacTavish and Andrew Taverner.” Jones said.
The trio of Jones, Taverner and MacTavish combined for 13 points over the week.
Part of those 13 points came from a 5-2 win over the Calgary Mustangs on Tuesday October 15th, Jones scored 4 goals in that game to help the Crusaders to victory.
“I felt my success that game was because of the big ice surface. I was able to gather lots of speed and the big ice also allowed me an extra second to make decisions on the ice. The guys were finding me in scoring positions and that definitely the main reason for my success.” Jones commenting on the Olympic size ice surface at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary.
The 4 goal game in Calgary marked Jones’ first AJHL hat-trick.
“I have had a couple three goal games back in my minor hockey career. Last year I had a couple two goal games. A little bit of luck has to happen in order to get four goals, it just seemed like everything was going right that game.”
Jones picked up his remaining points in Sunday’s loss to the Okotoks Oilers. The Cru found themselves down 4-1 heading into the 3rd period, but Jones and the rest of the Cru knew that they would not go down without a fight. A goal and an assist in the 3rd caught the Crusaders up to the 3 goal lead the Oilers had going into the final 20 minutes, Okotoks walked away with a 4-3 victory.
Jones was asked, as a veteran, does he need to carry the load at times when it comes to point production and scenarios like this past Sunday.
“Yeah definitely, but not just me. We have a good veteran core in our locker room that have been through those types of games before and are all capable of sparking the team. As the season progresses and the rookies get more comfortable it can just as easy be a rookie player providing the energy to start a comeback.”
Jones will be looking to continue the pace of production that occurred this past week, but does mention there are many factors to continue this success.
“For me personally I need to get myself involved in the game early, whether that is a hit, block shot, a good pass or anything that provides me some jump for the rest of the game. As a line we need to play to play as a group like we did against Okotoks and I think we will be successful.”
Unfortunately for the Crusaders, they will be without the red hot Jones for the next 3 games, as he and teammates Andrew Taverner and Tommy Nixon head out to Calgary for the Canada West Selection Camp for the World Junior A Challenge.
Hopefully the recent success of all 3 players translate to a spot on Team Canada West.