The Sherwood Park Crusaders are finding their footing after a tumultuous November.
On Friday (Dec.3), the Crusaders were in Vermillion to take on the Bonnyville Pontiacs. After a close first period, centre Bruce MacGregor opened the scoring with just under four minutes to go.
In the second period, the Pontiacs took the lead with back-to-back goals; however, 17-year-old Ty Hurley tied the game with his first-ever AJHL goal. Bode Hagan gave the Crusaders a 3-2 lead on a power play, and Mitchell Joss topped it off with an empty netter to take the 4-2 victory.
During Saturday's home game against the Grande Prairie Storm, goals were traded throughout the first period resulting in a 2-2 deadlock. Cam Bassos managed to break the tie in the second period with six minutes left in the second. The Storm responded with a late goal from Carter Chorney for a 3-3 tie.
A goal from the Storm in the third period gave them a 3-4 lead, but Brett Ursulak responded two minutes later to tie the game again. The game-winning goal was scored 38 seconds into overtime by Tyler Bates for a 5-4 win for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders have had a slow start to the 2021/22 season; with a 13W-15L-1OTL record, they sit near the bottom of the AJHL North Standings. General manager Adam Sergerie described this year's team as a young group that's navigating their way through the league and "learning what it takes on a day-to-day basis in order to be successful in this league."
"The league is a lot faster, and there's a lot bigger players in the league. So, for our young guys, I feel like they've come in and done a heck of a job," he said. "There's still a lot of growing for them to do, but I feel like there's a lot of positives, and our older guys have done a great job in terms of showing them the way."
Sherwood Park hopes to keep the momentum going as they get ready to host the Lloydminster Bobcats on Wednesday before heading out on a three-game road trip.