By Terry Martin
The Saints have just come off their holiday break as they were set to take on the Sherwood Park Crusaders for the 5th and final time this season. Spruce Grove has defeated the Crusaders in all of their meetings this year, their most recent victory was at the end of November where the Saints pulled out a 4-1 win. Spruce Grove is battling it out for the top spot in the North with the Oil Barons, sitting just 1 point behind them and 1 less game played. The Crusaders sit 7th in the division with 31 points and 15 wins.
Both teams would work through the motions to begin the game after being off for a while. The Saints would be the ones to shake off the rust the fastest as Braeden Virtue would be the one to score, breaking through the Crusaders defencemen and lifting the puck top shelf. The Saints would also comeback in the shot department, trailing 8-2 at one point. After 20 minutes Spruce Grove would lead 1-0 and just edge out the Crusaders in shots 10-9.
The Crusaders would battle back and score first in this period, Zac Maxwell would bury the puck on a shorthanded breakaway chance. Ewan McPherson would get that goal back on a Saints power play opportunity, tipping in the puck just above the crease after a point shot from Breck McKinley. The Saints would hold onto their lead as they continue to pile on the shots, leading 25-17 after 40 minutes of play.
Cade Mason would start the 3rd period off with a tip in goal after a great feed from Brett Pfoh in front of the net. Jaden Senkoe would then rip the puck home from the slot, scoring low blocker to put the Saints up 4-1. Caiden Gault would then seal the deal with his 27th goal of the season with 1 minute to go in the game, firing the puck through the body of Gus Bylin. The Saints would win the game 5-1 and dominate on the shot clock, outshooting the Crusaders 34-24.
The Saints sweep the season series against the Crusaders, winning all 6 games before the new year. The Saints also jumped ahead of the Oil Barons in the standings after the win tonight to take 1st place. Spruce Grove is now on a 4 game win streak and they look to extend that back on home ice against the Whitecourt Wolverines on Tuesday night.