The Sherwood Park Crusaders have had their hands full this season when facing the Viterra South Division, a game after the half way point in the 2014-15 AJHL Regular Season, the Crusaders are 6 and 7 against teams from Southern Alberta. Friday night won’t get any easier as the Crusaders welcome the Camrose Kodiaks for the first and only time this season at the Sherwood Park Arena.
Friday’s game marks the fifth straight game against the Viterra South Division. The Crusaders are coming off a weekend road trip that saw losses to Drumheller (4-3), Brooks (2-0) and a victory against the Calgary Mustangs (5-3).
“We played well on Friday. The game could have gone either way. Saturday we played one of the league’s best teams and they didn’t give us much. Sunday’s win helped us salvaged the weekend and get a much needed two points.” Said Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle.
The 5-3 victory on Sunday against the Mustangs gave the Crusaders their 16th win on the season and 35 Points to remain in third place through 31 games played, which is the most out of any team in the Viterra North Division.
Sherwood Park got off to a good start for the second half of the Regular Season with the 5-3 victory in Calgary, which saw Arthur Gordon net a Hat Trick in helping the Crusaders get the victory.
“First Period was kind of tough, I could have scored a couple of times but I kept on battling through it then Tanner (Laderoute) made a nice pass over and I finished it off, and on the second goal, turnover in the middle of the ice and I went top corner, then the empty netter to finish it off.” Recalled Gordon.
The Crusaders will hope their leading scorer in Arthur Gordon can continue the offensive success heading into Friday as Camrose has only allowed a league low, 54 goals. The Crusaders scored 3 against the Kodiaks in their first meeting of the season back on November 7th but fell to Camrose 5-3.
“Discipline was the issue in the first meeting. They scored two Power Play goals in the third to win the game.” Says Fragle, who’s Penalty Kill has been the better half on the Special Teams this season but struggled in the game against the Kodiaks.
“Discipline and how much offense we can generate against one of the league’s best defensive teams will be the keys against the Kodiaks.” Added Fragle.
After Friday, the attention will focus onto the Whitecourt Wolverines who make their final visit to the Sherwood Park Arena on Saturday night, and the Crusaders will look to sweep the home portion of the six game Regular Season series.
Although the Wolverines head into Friday’s action last in the Viterra North Division the Wolverines have given fits to the Crusaders this season having picked up a victory in Whitecourt and staying in the games they’ve played at the Sherwood Park Arena only losing the previous two games by a goal.
“Starts are always important. We have had two tight one goal wins at home against them and one was due to a good start.” Says Fragle on facing the Wolverines.
The Crusaders will have a good opportunity to distance themselves from the rest of the pack in the Viterra North Division as five of the next six Crusader games are at home where the Crusaders have a record of 10-3-1, which is fourth best in the AJHL and third most wins on home ice in the league as well.
One important note, the CJHL/AJHL Roster Cut Down is December 1st, 2014. All AJHL teams must be down to 25 or fewer players, the Crusaders are highly unlikely to make a move as they are sitting at exactly 25.
-Story By Taylor Medak