By Adam Kulak

The Saints came out and scored early but they couldn’t snap Sherwood Parks 6 game win streak as they come back to win 4-3 and leapfrog the Saints in the North Division.  Logan Ganie, Jaxen Wyatt and Brett Trentham with the Saints goals tonight but they were unable to close the game out as Sherwood Park battled back to take it in the final minutes of the third period.

A solid opening 20 minutes for the Saints as they open up for 3 goals on the Crusaders in the first period.  4 minutes in Brett Shuldhaus would get two minutes for boarding but the Saints were able to kill it off.  The Saints would open the scoring a few minutes later, Stanley Cooley with a heads up shot pass to Logan Ganie back door who tips in his 5th of the season.  Just 14 seconds later, Jaxen Wyatt would get the puck off the O zone draw and blast a point shot through traffic for his 2nd of the season to give the Saints a 2-0 lead just like that.  The Crusaders called a timeout to settle things down after 2 quick goals and would try to battle back as the period went on.  12:15 into the period, Erik Miller would get the puck in the slot and beat Braeden Stephen glove side to cut the lead in half.  The Saints would restore the 2-goal lead just 4 minutes later as Brett Trentham would bang in the puck on the doorstep as it would sneak through Crusaders goaltender Matt Berlin.  The shots were 13-12 for Sherwood Park as the Saints would take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.

The Crusaders came out strong in the second period.  Shots were 7-3 in the first half as they controlled most of the period.  The Saints started getting hemmed in their own zone a couple times and Sherwood Park had several good looks.  They would eventually get on the board as the puck hit the ref in the neutral zone and Sherwood Park came back into the zone and Jacob Franczak would come back in and put it on net.  Braeden Stephen stopped the first shot, but Brayden Hyland got the rebound on the doorstep to get the Crusaders back to within 1.  The Saints started to find their legs in the second half of the period and even out the shots.  They were able to move the puck well and started to establish more offensive zone time.  They couldn’t solve Matt Berlin in the second as the period would end 3-2.  As the period ended Garrett Clegg would sucker punch Stanley Cooley in a scuffle after the period.  Brett Wieschorster would mouth off to the ref and get a misconduct and Clegg would get two minutes as the third would start 4v4 before the Saints get a 1-minute powerplay.

The Crusaders kept up their strong play in the third period as they continued the pressure.  The Saints took too many penalties tonight and were unable to establish a flow offensively.  Halfway through the period the Crusaders would tie the game up as Garrett Clegg took a breakaway feed from Cody Laskosky and beat Braeden Stephen on the forehand.  2 minutes later Dylan Bourlai would take a 2-minute boarding penalty, but the Saints penalty killers were very strong as they killed off all 4 minors tonight.  But the Crusaders continued to push and be aggressive and with three minutes left, they would take their first lead of the night as Garrett Clegg would get his second of the game.  They were unable to solve goaltender Matt Berlin who after giving up three in the first, shut the door the rest of the way as the Saints drop this one 4-3 here at Grant Fuhr Arena.

Both these teams were very evenly matched, and it showed in this game tonight.  The Saints started out strong with three goals in the first period, but they didn’t finish strong.  Sherwood Park is a very good team, they can carry the play and take it to teams and they did tonight in the final 40 minutes.  The Saints played fine but they know they let this one slip away when they had control early in the game.  They will get an opportunity for revenge tomorrow night as they are in Sherwood Park for a rematch.  They are back home next Friday as they welcome the Calgary Mustangs.