It’s been a big week for the Sherwood Park Crusaders, both in terms of team play and individual achievements.
After suffering a 4-0 shutout loss to the Lloydminster Bobcats (5-14-3) on Sunday, the Cru (12-9-1) took to Bobcat territory for a rematch — one that would see them pull away for a 4-3 victory and redemption.
The bigger story, however, is about the players who made the win happen.
Three Crusaders have made the final cut to be showcased at the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Games on Nov. 10 and 11 in Digby and Yarmouth, N.S.
Making the cut were defenceman Marshall Donald, forward Andrew Taverener and rookie forward Sean MacTavish.
“There were only eight from the (Alberta Junior Hockey League) invited, and three of them were from our team, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Crusader head coach and general manager Tim Fragle said.
“They go out and play two games with the Top 40 draft-eligible Junior A players in Canada. I know that they’re pretty excited about it and I know that there’s going to be lots of exposure there with schools, scouts and stuff like that.”
One of the bigger surprises making the final prospects roster is MacTavish, a 17-year-old rookie with the Cru, who has already managed 14 points in 19 games, split evenly between goals and assists.
“He’s really come along and has been really good,” Fragle said.
“I think he’s fourth on our team in points, and he has just really exceeded our expectations offensively. He’s such a smart player offensively, he’s got a good shot and people have taken notice.
“It sure helps that he’s had a good start, but he also comes from a good hockey background. He’s definitely come in and has played well for us.”
Not as much of a surprise, Andrew Taverner, 17, has already committed to playing at Quinnipiac University, and has picked up five goals and seven assists this season in 18 games — already matching his total from the 2011-2012 contest.
“He’s just an honest, hard-working kid, and he’s finally getting rewarded for sticking to that, because that’s the foundation of his game,” Fragle said.
“We don’t have many guys that work harder than Andrew Taverner. He gives you verything you want, and he’s had a little more offensive success this year than maybe all of us expected, but I think that’s come from his hard work.”