Saints Prevail 4-1 Over Crusaders

 Saints Prevail 4-1 Over Crusaders

By: Adam Kulak

The Sherwood Park Crusaders have gotten the better of the Saints in the season series this year.  However, in their final meeting of the season, the Saints get a little revenge this afternoon with a strong 4-1 victory here in Sherwood Park.  Luigi Benincasa, Graham Gamache, Brecon Wood and Brett Trentham would score for the Saints in this game.  Matt Davis was terrific for his 29th win on the season as the Saints now have 42 wins on the year.

First Period

It was a very evenly played period through the first 20 minutes.  Both teams were trading chances they both had opportunities to take the lead on the powerplay.  There was no scoring in the period but there could?ve been a couple goals int his game if not for both goaltenders. 

The Saints were doing a very good job of breaking up Sherwood Park?s passing plays in the offensive zone.  The Crusaders like to move the puck around quick and they are very good at creating cross ice passes and generating dangerous shots.  The Saints were in good positions to intercept pucks and transition back up ice.

The Crusaders came so close to taking the lead twice late in the period, Matt Davis is known for highlight reel saves against the Crusaders and he would add another to his collection.  On a 2 on 1, he would slide over to rob Arjun Atwal with the blocker to keep this a scoreless game.  Shortly after, Michael Benning would send Bryce Bader on a breakaway with a stretch pass.  Davis got a piece, but it rang off the cross bar as the Crusaders are denied twice in a short time frame.

Thanks to both goaltenders, this period would end in a scoreless tie, shots were 9-8 for the Saints as they head into the second period.

Second Period

Like all meeting between the Saints and Crusaders, things started getting even more chippy and heated through the middle frame.  Ryan Conroy stepped up in the neutral zone and leveled Arjun Atwal and that set off a chain reaction, with scrums in the neutral zone and the Saints zone.

Even though it was a heated period, it also came with some offense as both teams managed to get on the scoreboard.  2 minutes into the period, Luigi Benincasa would get his first AJHL goal as his shot from the top of the zone found its way through everyone.  It may have gone off a Crusader stick but regardless it?s still career goal #1 for Benincasa here in Sherwood Park.

The Crusaders would answer back in the second half of the period.  Carter Savoie decided to remind everyone why he?s a 50-goal scorer as he breaks in off the right wing and drives right to the net, getting it past Matt Davis to tie this game at 1. 

The Saints came close a couple times on their powerplay opportunities late in the period, but they were unable to take the lead back.  Another close period would end with a 1-1 tie, shots in the period were 11-10 Saints and 20-18 overall as we head into the final 20-minute stretch.

Third Period

Just like the second period, the Saints would score early in the period to take the lead.  1:59 into the period, the Saints had two or three chances and Graham Gamache would finally jam it home as the Saints take a 2-1 lead right away in the third period.

Sherwood Park put on the pressure on late in the game, they had 4 powerplay chances in the period and they tried to get something going.  But they couldn?t get a lot of shots to the net as the Saints were shutting them down defensively.  They were shutting down the Crusaders plays all game long and when they did get high danger chances, Matt Davis was there to deny them.

The Saints would add two empty netters late and they take this game by a final score of 4-1.  The Saints played a very solid game from start to finish this afternoon.  They were shutting the Crusaders down offensively, breaking up plays in the defensive zone and they won a ton of puck battles.  Matt Davis was spectacular on the chances that Sherwood park did get, with multiple 10 bell saves in this game.

The Saints will get ready for their last game of the season on Thursday night.  They will head back home to welcome the Olds Grizzlys to town, puck drop is 7:00 PM at the Grant Fuhr.