Sherwood Park, AB: The Cohort Series’s finale between the Bonnyville Pontiacs and the Sherwood Park Crusaders went down on Sunday night, the third game in three days for the two teams. Sherwood Park has won five of the seven matchups so far but dropped Saturday night’s matchup in Bonnyville. Carson Cherepak got the start for Sherwood Park, and Matthew Hennessey was between the pipes for the Pontiacs.
The first period was about as even as it could’ve been, with both teams firing 13 shots towards the net, with both goalies looking sharp for most of the period. The period’s outcome looked to be heading towards a tied score, but a late period turnover by the Pontiacs turned into offence for Sherwood Park. Tanner Fincaryk forced a turnover inside the blueline and managed to get the puck to Blake Sydlowski; whose screened shot beat Hennessey over the shoulder to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead after one period.
The second period was much of the same, as both teams looked to get the matchup’s upper hand. Sherwood Park struck first in the period when Brett Ursulak’s point shot found a small spot over the shoulder of Hennessey to extend the Crusaders’ lead to two. A minute later, Mason Mantzavrakos buried a wrister from the slot to cut the lead back down to one. Ten minutes later, Bonnyville were the beneficiaries of a poor clearance from the Crusaders and Ryan Koebel’s point shot found room under the pad of Cherepak to tie the game at two after 40 minutes.
The third period saw chances from both sides, with Bonnyville controlling the play for a large portion of the period. Aside from a late period flurry from the Crusaders, Hennessey wasn’t tested much in the third. Neither team could find the winner, so they headed to overtime for the second time this weekend.
However, this time, there was no overtime hero, as the teams traded scoring chances throughout the five minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net. The teams headed to a shootout for the first time in the series.
The first three shooters for both teams could not beat the goaltenders, who hadn’t allowed a goal since the 15-minute mark of the second period. The Pontiacs fourth shooter was Ethan Sundar, who tried a deke before shooting the puck into Cherepak’s blocker. Vincent Scott shot for the Crusaders with a chance to win the game. He faked a slapshot and ripped a wrist shot high glove on Hennessey for the game-winning goal in the shootout.
Sherwood Park finishes the series 6-2-0 and will have next weekend off before commencing their second cohort.