Saints Fall 6-2 to the Crusaders

Saints fall 6-2 to the Crusaders

By: Adam Kulak

After falling to the Saints on home ice last night, the Crusaders were ready to go in this game.  They were opportunistic on their chances and the Saints struggled to capitalize on theirs.  The Crusaders would score two in each period including on route to a 6-2 victory to split the weekend series between these two teams. 

After a bit of a shaky night last night, Carter Gylander was really good in this game stopping 34 of 36 shots to secure the victory.  Nick Leyer would also return to the lineup after serving a 2-game suspension, starting on a line with Cam Mitchell and Colson Gengenbach.

First Period

It wasn?t the first period that the Saints would have liked as the Crusaders came out strong.  The Saints had several good looks in the period, but they were a bit sloppy with their puck management and gave Sherwood Park plenty of Grade A opportunities.

9 minutes into the period, Michael Benning would send a cross ice one-time pass for William Zapernick and he would make no mistake to open the scoring for the Crusaders.  Matt Davis didn?t have much chance on that one as Sherwood Park would open the scoring for the second straight game.

Both teams traded Powerplay chances twice, but the Saints couldn?t generate enough on them to break through and tie this game.  Sherwood Park though, would take advantage of their second Powerplay as Kayden Bryant would dish it over to Carter Savoie back door to extend Sherwood Parks lead to 2-0.

Shots in the period were 17-12 in favour of the Crusaders as the period would end with them up by a pair.  The Saints will look to clean things up heading into the second period in order to get back in this game.

Second Period

The Saints came out with a better period in the second and managed to get on the board.  They would get another opportunity on the Powerplay and this time they would make the most of it.  Zach Douglas would feed Ryan Peckford for a shot on net and Cole Basnett would jump right on the rebound to bring the Saints within one.

The Saints would come close to tying the game shorthanded as Seth Fyten would cause a turnover and set up Brett Trentham on the 2 on 1 but Carter Gylander would stone him with a great save.  The Saints barely killed the penalty off but just after the Powerplay expired, Kaden Bryant would jump on a point shot to give Sherwood Park back the two-goal lead.

That?s how the score would stay until late in the period, as Carter Savoie worked a give and go with Reid Irwin, who set up Savoie back door again for his 2nd of the game.  It was a better period for the Saints, but they still weren?t able to shut down the Crusaders and inch closer to tying the game.

The shots in the period were 12-10 for the Saints and 27-24 overall for the Crusaders as they would head into the final 20 minutes with a 4-1 lead.

Third Period

The Saints came out and pressed to try and tie this game up, outshooting the Crusaders 12-5 in the third.  It was back and forth penalties all night long as there was hardly any time at 5v5.  Both teams only had one Powerplay goal each in the first two periods and neither one could capitalize in the third.

The Saints would finally solve Carter Gylander in the third as Ethan Edwards would rip on over the glove over halfway through the period making it 4-2.  The Saints would get another Powerplay shortly after to try and build some more momentum, but they couldn?t get anything going on the man advantage.

Sherwood Park would draw a penalty on a breakaway to end the Powerplay and close the Saints chances of tying the game up.  The Crusaders would add two empty netters and they would split the weekend series with a 6-2 win here at the Grant Fuhr Arena.

The Saints struggled with their puck management in this game, they couldn?t transition up ice cleanly and they had turnover after turnover in the neutral zone.  That gave the Crusaders a lot of opportunities on the counterattack and the Saints couldn?t get any sort of flow going.  Matt Davis was still good in this game, a lot of Sherwood Parks goals were great plays or shots he didn?t have much chance on. 

The Saints will look to bounce back this Friday, as they host the Drumheller Dragons Friday night right back here at the Grant Fuhr Arena, game time is 7:00pm