If the Crusaders are to have any chance at gaining home ice advantage in the first round of the Playoffs, with three games this long weekend, it will be make or break for Sherwood Park.
Friday night the Sherwood Park opens up a home and home against the team they are chasing for the final home ice spot, the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
The Pontiacs sit eight Points ahead of the Crusaders for fourth spot in the Viterra North Division with eight games remaining, Sherwood Park has a game in hand.
The Crusaders are coming off an interesting week of hockey.
Last weekend there were a couple of spirited affairs against the Drayton Valley Thunder and earlier this week Sherwood Park picked up a big victory on the road in Olds on Tuesday, winning 4-3.
This weekend should be no short of theatrics as the Pontiacs will be seeking their first victory of the season over the Crusaders as Sherwood Park is 4-0 against
Bonnyville and has outscored the Pontiacs 8-2 in their two previous meetings in Bonnyville.
It has been a while since these two teams have met, November 13th to be exact.
So it can be expected that both teams will be in the mindset that one another will be a lot different since the 6-4 victory for the Crusaders back in November.
The Pontiacs have been playing some decent hockey of late going 7-2-1 in their last ten games and have eight wins in the New Year. Their three losses in 2016 have been by only one goal.
Saturday night, the two teams will re acquaint themselves and wrap up their season series in the third visit to the Sherwood Park Arena for the Pontiacs.
It’s an exciting weekend in terms of the individual matchups.
Friday and Saturday will feature the leagues top goal scorers in the Crusaders Forward Tyler Maltby, and Pontiacs Forward Bobby McMann have 35 and 30 Goals respectively.
The Crusaders will also take on the Olds Grizzlys once again, this time on Family Day afternoon at the Sherwood Park Arena.
It’s a rare home game for the Crusaders on Family Day in February, but it shouldn’t feel out of the ordinary as Sherwood Park is use to playing 2:15 PM games, usually on Sunday.
It is also a rare third meeting of the season between the South Division squad, the Crusaders are 1-1 against the Grizzlys and will look for their second straight win against Olds in a span of a week.
In the Tuesday preview it was noted that the top three scorers would all be facing off against each other in the Grizzlys Wyatt Noskey, Chase Olsen and the Crusaders Ryan Kruper. It should be a good race down the stretch for the AJHL scoring title with Noskey having 70 Points, Olsen 69 Points and Kruper with 66 Points. Both Sherwood Park and Olds have nine games remaining heading into the weekend.