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Mid Week Clash in Lloydminster

Crusaders @ Lloydminster Bobcats – Wednesday October 14th, 2015 – 7:30 PM

Media: Bobcats Radio Network & AJHL Web TV

Wednesday night the Crusaders will get their second taste of the Lloydminster Bobcats in the 2015-16 AJHL season.  The first go around didn’t fair too well for the Crusaders on September 22nd when Sherwood Park fell 5-1 to the Bobcats.

The Crusaders allowed 2 first period goals but found themselves only down by a goal heading into the final 20 minutes.

“We were just okay for 40 minutes but the final 20 cost us. We missed on a few chances and they scored on theirs as well as I felt we were undisciplined in the 3rd Period.”  Says Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle on the loss back in September.

The Crusaders were scored on three times in the third period, two of them Power Play Goals for Lloydminster.  Sherwood Park is near the bottom of the AJHL in terms of Penalty Kill Percentage at 72.9%.

It was a good measuring stick for the Crusaders back in late September to see where they match up against one of the teams pegged to be near the top of the Viterra North Division Standings.

“It gave us good experience to see who is who in this league and who we need to beat to be one of the best teams, and Lloydminster is one of those teams.”  Adds Forward Ryan Kruper.

“In the first game we were slow out of the gate, I think this game is going to be different.  We are going to come out strong, I think it’s going to be a good game.”

Kruper has been a bright spot for the Crusaders in an October that only has seen one win in four games thus far, 2 Goals and 3 Assists has allowed Kruper to sit seventh in AJHL scoring heading into Wednesday’s game against Lloydminster.

“It’s confidence right now, a lot of the pucks are going the right way for me right now.  My linemates as well have helped I’m playing a lot with Darcy [Zaharichuk] and he’s playing really well too.”  Says Kruper on his early offensive success this season.

Kruper and Zaharichuk have been together on the Center and Left Wing side respectively while a Right Winger has been rotated in by GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle.

The Crusaders are hoping they can carry the momentum generated in Sunday’s 4-0 win into the game against Lloydminster Wednesday night.  Sunday’s victory over the Calgary Canucks marked the first shutout of the year for the Crusaders and Goaltender Zac Klassen.

Wednesday Sherwood Park heads into the Border City 6-5-0 with 12 Points sitting in fifth place in the Viterra North Division while the Bobcats are 10-2-0 with 20 Points and second in the division behind Spruce Grove.
As Kruper said, it was a good test early on in the season but it should be a closer game and the Crusaders will need to be consistent for 60 minutes if they are to come out on top Wednesday night.

Players to watch: For the Crusaders, Ryan Kruper will look to build on his offensive output, the Crusaders Penalty Kill as a group will need to be successful in Wednesday’s games in order for a win and Goaltender Zac Klassen who will start is coming off his first shutout of 2015-16 and will carry some confidence into Wednesday’s game, all signs point toward being on the upward trend for the veteran netminder…For the Bobcats, Forward Kevin Darrar has a two game Goal streak and had a pair of Assists in the September 22nd Win versus Sherwood Park, the Holy Cross commit leads the team with 12 Points, Forward Noah Bauld had 3 Points in the previous meeting and Goaltender Alex Lecler stymied the Crusaders and has done so to the rest of his opponents so far this year with 5 Wins, 1 Shutout, a 1.61 G.A.A and a .942 Save Percentage.

-Story By Taylor Medak