The 2017-18 season saw Alex Crepinsek reach some new career milestones.
The RIT alum played in his 100th career game on March 24 against the Buffalo Bandits in which he recorded his 50th career point. Against the Calgary Roughnecks on January 13, Crepinsek also netted his first-ever power play goal with an empty netter to cap the night’s scoring. Finally, Crepinsek set a new career high in loose balls with 88, the highest amongst all the Swarm defensemen, and matched a career-low in penalty minutes with just four minutes.
“I thought Crep played with confidence this year,” Swarm assistant coach Sean Ferris said. “He came up with those – we call them 50/50 loose balls. Once he had a 50/50 chance, he came up with some big loose balls. I know a couple times he had some tough assignments one-on-one, and he’d take on the task. “
For Crepinsek, positioning and solid defense are important. He can shut down a lane and land some tough hits when he needs to, but if there’s a scrum for a loose ball, Crepinsek pounces on the opportune moment.
Crepinsek will put himself in what he sees as the most advantageous spot to be in if the ball escapes the throng of bodies or serve as an obstacle for an opponent if a Swarm player comes out with it and needs to clear it away immediately.
That’s why the 29-year-old set that new career-high in loose balls. He would shut down opponents when necessary, but his positioning at times was important for the Swarm to get the ball back to its own end.
Crepinsek did a good job of staying out of the penalty box in 2017-18, as well. His four total minutes for two penalties are his lowest since his rookie season. Only two other Swarm players who played at least 17 games matched or did better than that amount: defenseman Leo Stouros (four minutes) and forward Kiel Matisz (two minutes).
Having that savvy defensive ability is what makes Crepinsek such an integral part of the Swarm defense and factored into the decision to sign him to a two-year contract earlier this month.
“He’s a good pick-and-roll guy, and I thought he had a great year with us this year,” Ferris said. “More noticeable this year with guys that were missing at the beginning of the season, and he just seamlessly fit right in. Good team guy.”
Crepinsek passing | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
What a Hit:
If you don’t win the faceoff in lacrosse, the immediate best thing to do is cause a turnover and make that meeting at the dot not matter. Crepinsek did just that on March 18 against the Buffalo Bandits.
After the first goal of the game, Vaughn Harris came away with the ball in the ensuing faceoff and was trying to cut in front of the Swarm bench. Crepinsek was there waiting for him and pushed Harris into the boards. Harris fell to the ground, and quick chops from Joel White and Crepinsek dislodged the ball. The six-year vet scooped up the loosie and passed it to Bryan Cole, preventing Buffalo from getting that first possession off a faceoff win and allowing Georgia’s O to take to the floor instead.
Being opportunistic is a key component to Crepinsek’s style of play. Clean hits, getting that loosie. It’s part of what made locking Crepinsek up for the next two years an easy decision.
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2017-18 Player Capsules: