Photo credit: Xander Holcomb, Blackfalds Bulldogs
Coming into their family day matinee, the Blackfalds Bulldogs boasted a three-game winning streak and a two-point lead over the Okotoks Oilers for second place in the AJHL’s south division. Their only previous meeting this season ended in a 1-0 overtime win for Blackfalds, with Tyler Wallace scoring after 64:55 of scoreless hockey. For Erick Roest and the Crusaders defence as a whole, Blackfalds’ 24 goals in their last three games have helped the Bulldogs to their win streak. On the other hand, Sherwood Park have been fighting with the Bonnyville Pontiacs for third in the north, but are assured a top-four spot.
The first period saw Sherwood Park get the best of their chances, with two powerplays that generated opportunities but couldn’t break through. At the end of a Bulldogs penalty kill, a Kody Willick stretch pass found Jayden Joly for a breakaway, with Joly beating Erick Roest to the blocker side and opening the scoring. In the second, Joly would score again to double the lead, with Brendan Ross stealing the puck in the neutral zone and feeding Joly for another breakaway, with the goal this time coming on a deke to the forehand. Jason Siedem made it 3-0 on the powerplay, taking a backdoor pass and forcing it past Roest to give Siedem his ninth goal in nine games. Blackfalds’ fourth goal came on a chaotic sequence in front, with Jayden Joly forcing a rebound past Roest to give him back-to-back hat tricks and Blackfalds a 4-0 lead.
Blackfalds held the Crusaders to just five shots in the third period to secure the win, with Jayden Joly earning first-star honours thanks to his second hat-trick in as many games. Matthew Hennessey’s 19 saves led him to his third shutout for the season. Blackfalds’ win means they can clinch a top-three spot in the South with a Saturday night win over the Drumheller Dragons.