Cru fell in Games 1 and 2 of the BCHL finals in Alberta


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Playoff hockey isn't playoff hockey without a few punches on the chin.

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The playoffs in every sport bring adversity, playoffs demand more from the players, more from the fans, more from the mascots. Hockey is the fastest game in the world and hockey playoffs tend to bring that adversity just as quickly. The Sherwood Park Crusaders defeated the Blackfalds Bulldogs in Round 1 of the BCHL playoffs. They had already secured their place in the final on April 25th and then waited five days to find their opponent. After a 16-day break, they took the ice on Friday, May 10th against the Brooks Bandits.

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The clear path to dominance in Alberta found some new curves and new obstacles that night. The Cru's opponents were just ten days removed from a seven-game contest against the Okotoks Oilers, and some of that remaining intensity must have carried over as they were able to score eight goals against the local club. Although the Bandits took an early 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to a goal from Kale Dach, they sent 43 shots and found the net eight times in the next two periods.

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Some jumps on Friday didn't go the way Cru liked. The Bandits managed to score on two of their three power play opportunities, while the Crusaders missed their six chances.

“I thought after a 16-day break since the last series we got the start to Game 1 we would have liked. “We got some momentum early and I think if we had capitalized on some of the early power plays, Game 1 would have been different,” Crusaders general manager Adam Sergerie said. “They got going in the second half because we were so complacent and they were able to keep that up for the rest of the game.”

Sherwood Park Crusaders BCHL AB Finals
The Sherwood Park Crusaders lost 5-1 to Brooks in Game 2 of the BCHL Alberta Finals at Randy Rosen Rink on Saturday, May 11. The Cru will hit the road for Games 3 and 4 this weekend. Lindsay Morey/News Staff jpg, SP, apsmc

Unfortunately, there was no time to lick their wounds, no time to regroup, as is so arduous in the playoffs. The next night, the Bandits built a three-nil lead in the first period. Adam Raesler cut the lead to two in the second period, but the Bandits sealed the win with two more in the third period for a final score of 5-1.

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“In Game 2, I thought we were spot on at five-on-five. They are a very dangerous team and can punish you for a mistake. They took advantage of the chances we gave them and unfortunately we couldn't take our chances,” noted Sergerie.

“Brooks has been the standard in our league for over a decade. We knew it wouldn't be easy against them and we're learning how a team like this can improve its game in the most important time of the year,” the GM added. “They deserve full credit in Games 1 and 2, but we know we still have more to give.”

Losing 2-0 in the series and boarding the bus to play the next two games in the Bandits' home barn is perhaps more adversity than the Crusaders would have liked. However, there is never a win without a win, and that is exactly what the team will face beginning Friday, May 17 at Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks. The team has proven throughout the season that it is resilient. This is a moment that requires all of that and more.

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As a team we need to focus on the things that helped us win in Games 1 and 2. The scoreboard says Brooks was dominant, but if you rewind the tape and look at our games, we had a period of time where we…dominated five-on-five. We need to focus on what made us successful.”

The starting power play could be a big caveat for a comeback. After going 0:14 in the first two games of the series, one thing is clear: Brooks is taking penalties. A slightly tighter defense and taking advantage of the power play could spark a comeback. In the shootout, the Cru was able to save eight of Brooks' chances.

“We have to improve and take advantage of our opportunities. I thought we cleaned up on the PK in Game 2, but still need to find momentum on the power play,” he said.

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Three straight games at Brooks before returning to the Silent Ice Center in Nisku on Friday, May 24th makes the challenge even greater, but the players, coaches, fans and mascot believe in it. Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th at Brooks will push the journey even further, the team will play and we will cheer that journey ends with a win.

“I think we understand how we have to play to be successful. We learned some hard lessons in Games 1 and 2, so I'm confident we can get back to playing the way we know how and make it another series,” Sergerie stressed.

For the full playoff schedule, visit

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X: Lindsay DMorey

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