(Photo courtesy of SFU Hockey)
In a league with just six teams such as the BCIHL, every game is important. But that was especially true Friday night in the matchup against Simon Fraser University and Selkirk College. A win would see SFU move within a single point of Selkirk, who sit in second. A win for Selkirk would move them five point up with three games to go, all but locking their position in place.
The result was a 4-1 victory for SFU, but it was far from routine. A total of 74 penalty minutes was handed out between the two teams, making it a supremely physical game by BCIHL standards.
“I think we handled it OK” said head coach Mark Coletta when asked afterwards. “I would have liked to have seen our guys be a little more disciplined. [. . .] They’re a big physical team and they’re going to play that physical style, and that’s fine. Our guys just have to make sure to manage our emotions and stay out of the box.”
SFU would get out to a flying start, as Spencer Unger and Mak Barden scored within the first five minutes to give SFU a 2-0 lead. Unger’s goal was his first since January 19th, while Barden’s goal was his sixth of the season. The Saints took six minor penalties in the first, barely playing any time at even strength.
No goals were scored in the second, but both teams exchanged big hits that took the game to its boiling point. Jaret Babych was given a game misconduct, forcing him to leave the game early.
In the third, Austin Adam’s wrist shot from the point made it 3-0 and pretty much sealed the game up for SFU. Selkirk would get a late goal to end the shutout bid from Lyndon Stanwood, but SFU walked away with the all important two points.
Next up for the Clan is the Saints again, but this time on the road in Selkirk. Selkirk is a notoriously tough team to beat in their home rink, but should SFU do it they can take sole possession of second in the BCIHL.
“I think it’s going to be the same style of hockey” said Coletta when asked to preview the rematch. “It’s a small rink, it’s fast, it’s aggressive, it’s a good environment to play in.”
The next home game for SFU will be next Saturday, March 3rd against the University of Victoria. The team will honour the graduating seniors with a special pre-game ceremony. Puck drop is at 7 pm.