What started as a game turned into a rampage as the visiting Spruce Grove Saints slew the Cru 9-1 on Sunday.
It was as if St. Patrick himself came down hard on the Sherwood Park Crusaders, chasing away the snakes that were their hockey skills, leaving the Crusaders to gather themselves for the next game in the series.
The Saints pumped 34 shots at Cru starter Matt Tomkins, getting eight goals by him before he was pulled in the final minutes for Jacob Suppes, who let in one goal on six shots. As the game started to get out of reach, the Crusaders tallied up the penalties allowing Spruce Grove 11 powerplays, three of which they capitalized on. The lone marker for the Crusaders was scored at 13:27 of the first by Nicholas Jones from Mike Berry and Danny Smith.
At that point in the game, the goal tied it up at one. From there on in it was as if the trumpet of Michael had sounded as the Saints marched into the Crusaders end again and again. The Saints scored two more in the first after Jones’ tally, and one in the second, before opening the flood gates in the third with five goals.
Dillon Massie, Cody Bardock and Bowen Croft reached double digits in penalties as the wheels came off the war wagon for the Cru.
What started out as a promising series with the Crusaders winning the opening match in Spruce Grove 3-2 on Thursday, March 14 and losing a closer contest 3-1 on Friday, March 15, went sour as they came home.
The 9-1 loss is one of the Crusaders most lopsided losses of the season and couldn’t come a worse time. With the series now 2-1 in favour of the Saints, the Crusaders are left to find it within themselves to rally for a comeback.
For a team that had its ups and downs all season, this lopsided loss could flick a switch inside the Cru, waking them up and pushing them to compete. On a team that has one of the top rookies in Sean MacTavish, one of the top goalies in Tomkins, and the newly crowned top defenceman in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, there is no shortage of talent.
The Crusaders next game was Monday, March 18 (past press time) at 7 p.m. in Sherwood Park at the Arena.