For the second time in five days at the Max Bell Centre, the Calgary Canucks participated in an entertaining game decided by a single goal, and just like last time the Canucks came out on the losing end of the scoreboard.
The Canucks Thursday night opponent the Sherwood Park Crusaders, came into this game with a 1-0 record after defeating the Grande Prairie Storm 5-3, on Saturday. The Cru also rode into this matchup on a ten-game winning streak against the Canucks.
The last time the Canucks defeated the Crusaders was February 4th, 2007.
The Canucks game out of the gate strong, out-shooting the Crusaders 13-9 in the opening period. The home team generated multiple odd–man rush chances but the Crusaders goaltender Matt Tomkins shut all of them down. Tending the other net was Colin Cooper, making his AJHL regular season debut with the Canucks. He stopped all 9 shots he faced.
At the end of the first period the score was tied 0-0.
The strong play continued early into the second period for the Canucks and 1:38 into the middle frame, the Canucks were rewarded. Clayton Petrie maneuvered his way into the slot with some nice moves with his stick, and he fired a snap-shot into the Crusaders' net. 1-0 Canucks.
The goal against seemed to awaken the Cru. The visiting team responded to the goal by unleashing a barrage of shots on Colin Cooper. Cooper made a series of important saves to keep the Crusaders of the board as the game approached the mid-way point of the second period. The Crusaders tied the game at one apiece when Dillon Massie banged home a rebound at the side the Canucks net.
The second period saw the Crusaders outshoot the Canucks 18-5.
The Crusaders once again were the better team in a third period that was chippy. Big hits were thrown and players took shots at each other behind the play.
The MVP of the third period was Colin Cooper, making sensational save after sensational save. The Crusaders had three or four terrific chances to take the lead but Cooper denied all of them. The Canucks had a couple of chances of its own late in the game, but Matt Tomkins provided an answer to each opportunity.
The game went into a five minute over-time period. There were a lot of back-and-forth chances by both teams, but the men guarding the net stopped whatever rubber headed their direction.
The game went into a shootout.
Shooting first for the Crusaders was No.27 Danny Smith. He beat Colin Cooper with a gorgeous deke to his fore-hand to give the Cru a 1-0 lead in the shootout.
Matthew Plesa shot first for the Canucks. He tried to shoot the puck between the pads of Tomkins, he was denied.
Up next was the Crusaders' goal scorer Dillon Massie. He went for a high shot to the glove-side. It hit the cross-bar and stayed out of the net.
Derek Thorogood shot second for the Calgary Canucks. He tried a similar shot to Matthew Plesa, electing to shoot the puck through through the legs of Tomkins, but he too was stopped.
Stefan Bazar, the Crusaders third shooter, could end the game with a goal. He came towards the net and fired the puck high and wide.
That meant the Canucks had one last chance to tie the game. Clayton Petrie was called upon to take the shot. He stick-handled the puck to the left, shot the puck, and was stopped.
Game over. The Crusaders prevailed 2-1 in a shootout.
With the win the Crusaders improved to 2-0 on the season. The Canucks record stands at 1-1-1 at the end of this third game.
The Canucks battle the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Friday night-in Bonnyville-and then face-off against the Drayton Valley Thunder on the road Saturday night. The Canucks will return to the Max Bell Centre after that to take on the Olds Grizzlies on Wednesday.