(Fairbanks, AK) The Simon Fraser University Clan Hockey Club wrapped up their pre-season road trip with a 2-0 loss to NCAA D1 program Alaska-Fairbanks in a highly competitive game between the two teams. SFU came out flying to begin the game and controlled the play for much of the first period, with the line of Adam Callegari, Brendan Lamont, and NCAA transfer Scott Patterson keeping the Nanooks trapped in their own end for much of the frame. Kylar Hope opened the scoring for Alaska with a wrap-around goal on a miscommunication due to the hybrid icing rule of the NCAA. The only other scoring in the game was from Chad Staley who perfectly placed a wrist shot under the bar later in the frame. SFU goaltender Jordan Liem had a number of big saves throughout the game including a pair of toe saves to keep the Clan within striking distance. The Nanooks roster featured a number of BC born players including Burnaby’s own Brandon Morley, who was named captain this year, taking over for his brother Tyler who graduated at the end of 2016.
On Friday night at a sold out MTA Events Center in Palmer the Clan fell 6-1 to the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves in a penalty-filled game. Jordan Liem held the team in early as the Seawolves came out very quickly and had a number of quality scoring chances. Special teams were the achilles heel for SFU as the first four goals scored by Anchorage included 3 power play and one shorthanded goal. Mitch Crisanti scored the lone goal for SFU midway through the third period after a stretch of sustained pressure for the Clan.
Following regulation the teams played a 3-on-3 overtime period and a shootout, the latter of which SFU won as Jordan Liem stopped all three shots he faced and Crisanti scored the lone goal of the shootout for SFU.
The game was a fundraiser for minor hockey in the city of Palmer, with proceeds from tickets going towards the city’s minor hockey program. Each year the team plays an exhibition game in one of the communities outside of Anchorage to help support local minor hockey. Head Coach Mark Coletta relished to opportunity to play in front of such a passionate crowd “it was good to get out there and support the community, they had a great crowd and atmosphere.
While the Clan didn’t pick up a win on the trip Coletta was happy with what he saw from his team. “The guys played two good game, and aside from some penalty troubles versus Anchorage, we put up a good fight against division 1 opponents and hopefully we learn from the experience.” Coletta spoke highly of the type of game that the NCAA teams play “It’s a fast in your face and intense brand of hockey, when we recruit we try to bring in players who can play this type of game”
The experience for the players is what these games are all about and 3rd year forward Tyler Basham thought it would help the team when the regular season gets underway. “By going and playing these intense games, and even out playing an NCAA D1 team, if we’re able to bring that to our regular season we’ll be very successful this year. The game is just a little bit quicker up there and you have less time to make decisions, hopefully we can take that back that to our games in the BCIHL.” While the trip helps the team on the ice, it’s also a great experience for the players off the ice as well. “It was such a great bonding experience for the guys, and you get to go visit a new place you might not have had the chance to, every single guy was pumped to be going.” That feeling carried through to the atmosphere in the rinks as well, “The game in Palmer, you couldn’t fit another person into that building, with the fans, students, and everything it just had that complete college hockey experience.”
The Clan begin BCIHL regular season play this weekend with a pair of games on the road vs Eastern Washington on Friday and reigning BCIHL champions Selkirk College on Sunday. The 2016/17 home opener goes Saturday October 15th at 7:00pm vs Selkirk at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. For more information visit www.sfuhockey.com.