Despite a late comeback attempt Friday night which saw SFU cut down a three goal lead to one in the third period, the SFU Men’s Hockey team fell 6-4 to the University of Victoria Vikes on the road for their first loss of 2016, snapping a seven game winning streak.
Down 5-2, with only 6:09 left in the third period, freshman Mitch Crisanti, playing just his fifth BCIHL game, scored his second goal of the game — and his second of his BCIHL career. Just over three minutes later, with the goalie pulled with over three minutes left on the clock, Tyler Basham knocked in his 11th goal of the season from Mathew Berry-Lamontagna and Jono Ceci, to make it a one goal game.
However, the comeback would end shortly after another attempt pulling the goalie. With 1:33 left in the game, UVic’s Shawn Mueller, third in BCIHL points, took advantage of a misplay while Jordan Liem was being pulled leaving the goaltender in no man’s land as Mueller scored the final goal of the game.
“We played from behind basically the whole game and that’s always a tough thing to do. [I] definitely commend our guys for the effort in the third period, to battle back and show character, but at the end of the day a loss is a loss, and the games are 60 minutes for a reason,” said head coach Mark Coletta.
“[It was a] slow start, [we] didn’t really come up with enough energy in the first period, and we were a little apprehensive, not committed to doing the little things early in the game.”
The Vikes scored two goals in the first period, outshooting SFU 12-9 in the opening frame.
SFU would dominate the shot clock in the second 16-6, and Brandon Tidy opened the period’s scoring, with helpers from Ceci and Basham, to bring the score within one, but UVic would add two more in the middle of the period to take a 4-1 lead.
Crisanti added one more in the goal column — his BCIHL first — on the power play near the end of the period, but UVic answered at the beginning of the third with a shorthanded goal, holding a three goal lead for 11:25, before SFU’s attempted comeback.
“We just made too many mistakes early in the game and all around, from goaltending to defence to forwards, we were below average,” said Coletta.
SFU outshot UVic 41-31. First year players Darnel St Pierre, Robson Cramer, and Mak Barden also picked up points in the effort.
“The key for us is attitude. We definitely had a brief discussion after the game about attitude,” explained Coletta. “Can’t dwell on a loss, it’s over now. We know what we did wrong.”
With seven games remaining before the BCIHL playoffs — which SFU have clinched a spot in — the focus will be on achieving first place, and guaranteeing home ice advantage. After Selkirk’s overtime loss on Friday night, SFU is currently tied with Selkirk College at the top of the BCIHL leaderboard with 24 points, but holds the tiebreaker in wins — 12 to Selkirk’s 11 and two overtime losses.
“We have seven games left and in a best of seven, four wins will get you a series victory, but 4-3 won’t get you first place, so we know we got to run the table here to get first place because the other teams will be doing the same, and it starts Friday night with Trinity,” said Coletta.
SFU takes on Trinity Western this Friday at the beginning of home and home back-to-back games. Friday, the Clan travels to the Langley Event Centre to take on the Spartans, who are red hot on a four game winning streak and only one point back from first place.
“They definitely play a different style than our last couple of opponents,” noted Coletta. “Trinity’s more cerebral and they play a more passive-aggressive style, they counter-attack really well, and they got great goaltending, so it’s two contrasts of the styles of games so we’re going to have adjust. They’re a big team, they skate well, so we’ll have to make sure that we’re ready.”
The next night SFU returns to the Bill Copeland Centre as part two of the back-to-backer. For Saturday’s game, SFU students get in free with student ID, while adult tickets are $10 and children’s/senior’s $5. For fans looking to make the trip Friday night to flood the LEC in red, SFU students get in for $5. Puck drop is at 7 pm for both games and can be streamed live on FAST Hockey.