By: Adam Kulak

After a frustrating 4-1 loss to the Cru in Sherwood Park that left a sour taste in their mouths, the Saints made a statement in this one with a 9-3 rematch win over the Cru here at Grant Fuhr Arena.  The Saints were honoured to have Hudson Pedlar join us on facetime before puck drop as our Honorary Team Captain in a very special tribute.  Some lineup changes as Cory Babichuk and Cam Mitchell both return to the lineup from injury.  With Bourlai, Basnett and Cooley suspended in this one, the Saints called up Grahame Gamache and Ben Tkachuk from Midget help the Saints start the Post-Christmas part of their season.

It was a very evenly played opening 20 minutes in this game.  Both teams were creating good chances off the rush, the Saints were moving the puck well up ice and they had several good passes in the offensive zone leading to high quality looks.  The Crusaders would get on the board first just under 8 minutes in with a powerplay marker from Garrett Clegg.  Babichuk and Rempe both took holding minors a minute apart and the Saints got burned for it as Clegg would beat Matt Davis from the hashmarks.  The Saints would continue to play well though, they were getting Matt Berlin moving with their chances and they had bodies in front which is what they want to do to score.  3 minutes left the Saints would tie it up, Cam Mitchell fed TJ Lloyd at the point who walked around a shot blocking forward to beat Matt Berlin top corner for his 9th of the season.  The Saints would take that 1-1 tie into the first intermission, Saints leading the shot clock 11-10.

The first half and second half of the period were kind of a tale of two teams.  The Saints didn’t have the start that they would have wanted in the second as the Crusaders scored two quick ones in the opening 5 minutes.  The Saints gave them back to back powerplay opportunities and a team like Sherwood Park is going to make you pay for that.  Tyler Jette went end to end on the powerplay and would get a shot and the rebound went right to Jacob Franczak to give the Cru back the lead.  Just a minute later, Cody Laskosky would streak in down the right side and threw a shot on net that would find its way through Matt Davis to extend their lead to 3-1 just like that.  No let me take you to the second half of the period were the Saints scored FIVE, yes five goals in 7 minutes.  Parker Saretsky let a slapper go from the point to get the Saints within one at the 12-minute mark.  2 minutes later, Garrett Clegg went off for interference and Jake Ashton made them pay with a redirect off a Cory Babichuk point shot for his 5th of the season to tie it up.  Less than a minute later, Grahame Gamache would beat Berlin around the net for his 3rd as a Saint to give the Saints the lead.  Just a minute later, Carter Savoie received a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind on Ryan Harker.  The Saints would add another 2 on that 5-minute advantage.  Saretsky got his 2nd of the game and 14th of the season and Evan Wood would get his 1st as a Saint to give the Saints a commanding 6-3 lead after 40 minutes, shots were 24-18 after two periods.

If there was any doubt about this one, that was erased early in the third as the Saints would add three more goals in the third.  Parker Saretsky would complete the hattrick 2 minutes in to make it 7-3 for Spruce Grove.  3 minutes later after Babichuk would get a cross checking minor, Logan Ganie would get a shorthanded breakaway and he made no mistake with his 9th of the season.  You could see it in the Crusaders game in the final period that they had no jump left in their game.  After a deflating second period and the Saints adding more in the third, they started to give up and make simple mistakes with the puck.  The Saints would get another one shorthanded as Seth Fyten took the feed from Bruce MacGregor for his 5th of the season as the Saints finish off an impressive 9-3 win over the Crusaders.
Parker Saretsky and Logan Ganie both with big offensive nights in this one with a hattrick from Saretsky and a three-point night for Ganie.  Babichuk and Mitchell both made an impact in their return to the lineup and Matt Davis, after a tough goal against in the second made big saves at big moments tonight.

The Saints are back in action on January 4th as they welcome the Okotoks Oilers and the 5th as they welcome the Canmore Eagles, both games are 7:00pm starts here at the Grant Fuhr Arena.