Last year's AJHL leading goal scorer Tyler Maltby scored his first and second goals of the season – one of them coming shorthanded – just 4:29 apart late in the first period and the Sherwood Park Crusaders took off to a 6-1 victory from there over the Lloydminster Bobcats at the Centennial Civic Centre Wednesday night.
Driving down the left wing, Maltby was able to edge around the Bobcats defender before going backhand to forehand and sneaking the puck past Austin McGrath in tight to make it a 2-0 Crusaders lead at the 14:20 mark of the game. The forward with 41 goals last season had been held off the board in his first two games of the season, but made it up for it with his second later in the period.
With the Bobcats looking to cut the Crusaders' lead in half with a power play in the dying minutes of the first, Sherwood Park forward Ty Readman was able to sneak away for a partial breakaway on the penalty kill, tying up to defenders trying to catch him as he drove toward the net. Readman wasn't able to get a clean shot away, but the trailing Maltby found the puck and dodged traffic before beating McGrath to make it 3-0 heading into the first intermission.
Shots on goal after one favoured the Crusaders 13-12, and the play didn't suggest a three-goal gap, but the Cats were anable to beat Crusaders netminder Zac Klassen on a number of quality chances, while Sherwood Park were able to make three of their chances count.
It was a big night offensively for the Crusaders, as six players registered multi-point nights. Readman (1G, 2A), Maltby (2G), Tanner Younghans (2G), Chase Torontow (2A), Matthew Dykstra (1G, 1A), and Alex Rotundo (2A) paced Sherwood Park to victory.
McGrath's night came to a close 6:29 into the second period after Younghans scored his second of the night to make it 5-0 for the visitors, leaving a final stat line of 12 saves on 17 shots, but for the third straight game goaltending was not an issue whatsoever as the Crusaders took advantage of several defensive miscues.
Jeremy Kelleway took over and played the final 33:31, turning aside 12 of 13 shots in a strong relief effort.
In the Crusaders goal, Zac Klassen allowed one goal on 27 shots, turning in a stellar performance with several key saves in the first period.
Zach Webb got the Bobcats on the board with a power play goal in the third period, extending his goal scoring streak to three games to start the campaign.
Both Lloydminster and Sherwood Park registered their first power play goals of the year tonight, with the Bobcats going 1 for 8 on the man advantage and the Crusaders going 1 for 3.
Next action for Lloydminster is Friday night as the Bobcats host the Spruce Grove Saints at the Civic Centre at 7:30. Fans are encouraged to come out and celebrate as the Bobcats honour the Allan Cup winning Lloydminster Border Kings teams of 2001 and 2007.