Sherwood Park Crusaders VS Okotoks Oilers October 24th, 2015 – 7:00 PM
Media: AJHL Web TV
Sherwood Park Crusaders VS Fort McMurray Oil Barons October 25th, 2015 – 2:15 PM
Media: AJHL Web TV
The Sherwood Park Crusaders are looking to match a season high winning streak when they take on the Okotoks Oilers, in the first of two games this weekend, Saturday night at the Sherwood Park Arena.
The Crusaders won four games in a row to start off the 2015-16 AJHL Regular Season then struggled through the end of September into the first couple of weeks of October going 1-5-0 in that span, but three straight wins has the Crusaders back in the mix and playing with a lot of confidence.
There are many reasons to cite Sherwood Park’s recent success, most notably it has been the Goaltending and the play of new comer Zach Dyment in the crease.
“He’s been good in every game he’s been in. His first game was a loss but we did not play well in front of him against Whitecourt, that game could have gotten out of hand if it wasn’t for the way he played.” Says Crusaders GM and Head Coach Tim Fragle.
Dyment was acquired by the Crusaders after the Abbotsford, BC Native was released by the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL a few weeks ago.
Dyment continued to make an immediate impression after his 29 Save effort against the Wolverines.
“In the last three games, he’s just been solid. His approach to the games have been good, the team has played well in front of him too, so it’s just a combination of things.” Fragle adds.
It’s no doubt that you cannot forget about veteran Goaltender Zac Klassen in this. Pegged to be the number one guy in the crease at the start of the year, Klassen has been challenged with some healthy competition.
“It’s a situation where if you are going to have success, you are going to have more starts, that’s the spot we are in now after digging ourselves in a bit of a hole.” Notes Fragle.
It’s been noted so far in 2015-16 that Fragle and the Crusaders brass aren’t satisfied with being just good enough. Fragle wants depth at all positions and has that at the Forward and Defense level, now Goaltending is on that list.
Not only has Sherwood Park brought in Dyment, but Jake Morrissey as well. Morrissey was recently released by the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades and appeared in 11 Games last season with the Memorial Cup finalists, the Kelowna Rockets.
“Our plan is to try and get him in a game and see what we have…there’s no question he’s got a good resume and good potential.” Said Fragle on the Calgary, AB product.
At the moment however, it is Dyment as the man of the hour in the cage for the Crusaders as he has posted three straight wins.
Sherwood Park is coming off back to back games on the road this week, defeating the hottest team in the league the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Tuesday, 4-1, and a 3-2 win in Fort McMurray over the Oil Barons on Wednesday.
Although the score may not reflect it, but Tuesday’s clash with the Pontiacs was a close one. The Crusaders carried a 1-0 lead into the third period and were able to pull away and hold off Bonnyville thanks to a 21 save period from Dyment.
Wednesday’s clash with the last place Oil Barons in Fort McMurray was no cake walk. An even game heading into the third for the second straight night, but the Crusaders were able to edge out the MOB 3-2, as goals from Kruper, Maltby and McKay got Sherwood Park its third win in a row.
The Crusaders now go from the bottom of the Viterra North to the top of the Viterra South. If the Crusaders are to win four games in a row for the second time this season, they will need to get past the Okotoks Oilers who are only a point behind Camrose for first spot with 21 Points and a record of 10-4-1.
Oilers Head Coach James Poole has admittedly said that he thought his team may struggle out of the gate as there is a lot of turnover from one of the most consistent teams in the Viterra South division over the past few seasons.
Coach Fragle is not surprised of the Oiler early success however.
“I admire the way James’ teams play. I’ve coached against him for a lot of years, I’m not surprised, they play with structure…they’re not going to give [us] any chances.” Says Fragle.
Tomorrow, it’s the favorite day of the week for the Crusaders…Sunday.
Sherwood Park will host Fort McMurray for the second time this season, in their second meeting of the week. The Crusaders have dominated on Sundays so far in 2015-16, outscoring their opponent 28-7 with four wins.
“It’s just one of those things, we’ve caught teams on the back end of a tough road trip but the biggest thing has been our starts.” Notes Fragle.
In the four Sunday wins at home, the Crusaders have outscored the opposition 12-1 in the opening frame.
Regardless of Saturday’s outcome Sherwood Park will head into Sunday with a ton of confidence but the Oil Barons are a much improved team since the Crusaders 8-3 grubbing on September 18th at the Sherwood Park Arena, and shouldn’t overlook the MOB.
“They play the game the right way. They were a much tougher team at home and we can expect they will want to come in to [our] rink and play better than they played last time. I think they are a better team than when we played them here in Sherwood Park.” Adds Fragle.
Sunday also marks the annual Pink at The Rink for the Crusaders, funds will be raised to help the fight against breast cancer, more information can be found be clicking here.
Sherwood Park heads into Saturday with a record of 9-6-0 sitting in fifth spot in the Viterra North Division with 18 Points. They trail Whitecourt by three points who host the Calgary Mustangs tonight.
Players to watch: For the Crusaders, Goaltender Zach Dyment should make his fourth straight start as he has a 2.75 G.A.A and a .919 SV% in his four appearances so far, but with a back to back scenario once again this week, Sunday maybe an opportunity to see Morrissey in action or have Klassen return to the net…Forward Tyler Maltby is riding a four game point streak that has seen him net 3 Goals and 2 Assists, Luke Kempf has 5 Points in the last three games and is leading a bottom six group of Forwards that have contributed nicely in the three game winning streak…For the Oilers, Riley Morris has done a stand up job replacing 2014-15 CJHL Goalie of The Year Nic Renyard with 7 Wins and a .916 SV%, Veteran Trey Degraaf leads the way with 17 Points, third year Oiler Matt McNair has 12 Goals so far on the season…For the Oil Barons, Goaltender Eric Szudor made 37 Saves in a losing cause against the Cru on Wednesday, Mitchell Torrens and Jackson McKinstry had multi point games as well.
-Story By Taylor Medak