SFU Men’s Hockey’s 2015/16 season came to a heartbreaking end with a 5-4 overtime loss Saturday night to the Trinity Western Spartans.
The Clan were swept in the first round of the BCIHL playoffs after losing 6-3 the previous night to the Spartans. This is the third consecutive year that SFU faced Trinity Western in the first round, with the lower ranked team winning the series each year.
“There’s no silverlinings in playoff games, it’s win and loss, [but] I thought we played very well tonight, competed, [as] opposed to last night. I did think we were the better team tonight, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen,” said Coletta.
SFU held a 4-3 lead in the third period until Trinity Western’s Jamie Russell scored with only 1:29 left in regulation. SFU dominated possession and chances for much of overtime, but Burnaby local Matthew Vela netted the gamewinner for Trinity Western a little over seven minutes in.
Despite the disappointing final result, the game featured a great final performance by this year’s Clan.
“You never like to be in this situation, but the best you can do is to keep your head up, [we] played a hell of a game,” said Coletta.
The game featured two multi-goal performances — both Tyler Basham and Adam Callegari had two goals. Callegari also had one two-goal game and three goals in the playoff series the year prior against the Spartans.
Trinity Western opened the scoring just over nine minutes in, but Basham and Callegari answered back, giving SFU the 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.
Basham expanded that lead to 3-1 2:41 into the second. Just 4:14 later, however Trinity Western would tie the game, with goals from Kaleb Denham and Florian Niedermaier, who had three goals and an assist in the series.
Callegari would score again, with an assist from Mak Barden, to give the Clan a 4-3 lead going into the second intermission.
Michael Sandor, Jono Ceci, Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, and Graham Smerek also put up points. Barden had two.
Trinity Western outshot SFU 45-43. Jordan Liem made 40 saves.
“At the end of the day, the guys coming back next year have to take this and use this as motivation and be the best they can throughout the summer and coming into camp. You don’t want to feel this every year,” explained Coletta. “It’s not just a monthly thing, it’s a process, it’s a yearly thing, it starts tomorrow — next year.”
The game marked the last game for seniors Ceci, Matthew Luongo, and Saylor Preston. Graduating senior Vance Bridgman did not play, having last played in the regular season finale versus the University of Victoria Vikes on March 5. Luongo has two BCIHL championships under his belt, having played two seasons with Selkirk College prior to transferring to SFU.
“[I] congratulated the seniors who are moving on, you give them their kudos because they gave a lot of time and effort,” said Coletta. “Those are four good guys and they’ll have successful careers.”
Trinity Western will continue onto the BCIHL finals next weekend, playing Selkirk College, who beat UVic in three games in the first round, in a three game series in Castlegar. Selkirk College has won the last three BCIHL championships.
Thank you to all of our fans, volunteers, sponsors, donors, and supporters for everything you have done for the team this season.