Forward Jaret Babych’s first two goals in an SFU jersey helped the Clan claim the season opener against the Trinity Western Spartans 5-4 on the road.
“It was definitely a relief, you don’t want start off slow,” said Babych, who in addition to scoring twice, added an assist.
Babych helped swing the momentum in SFU’s favour by tying up the game, after Trinity Western forward Jamey Kreller netted the first goal of the game with 6:33 left.
“If they do get one, you can’t crack and fold, you’ve got to be resilient and push back, which we did, and we pushed really quick, and from then on in it was a totally different game,” said Babych.
Babych’s first goal marked the first of three SFU goals scored in less than three minutes apart to put the Clan up 3-1. For the second, forward Tyler Basham was rewarded after a gritty, hard working shift with his first goal of the season. Last season, Basham notched seven goals and 13 points in his rookie season. The third goal was Babych’s second of the night.
Trinity Western scored with 35.7 seconds left in the period to get within one. They would tie up the game with a shot from the point 7:22 into the third period.
However, SFU took back the lead a little over two minutes later with a goal by third year forward Mike Sandor. For good measure, defenceman Darnel St Pierre would add one more on the power play with 2:08 left in the game.
Although the Spartans would score again with 49 seconds left, SFU would hang on to win 5-4 and start the season perfect. Goaltender Jordan Liem made 50 saves on 54 shots (.925 SV%).
“Trinity’s a good hockey team,” said assistant coach Tom Spencer. “We stuck to our game plan — maintain our forecheck and keep the puck moving north and south.”
For Babych, who transferred from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, an NCAA institution where he had nine goals and 14 points in 21 games, the game marked a smooth transition to his new team, thanks in part to a welcoming locker room.
“The guys in there are great, really friendly, and really helpful, it’s just been an easy transition,” he said.
Prior to his collegiate career, Babych was key player for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL, where he scored 30 goals and had 52 points in 151 games with the team.
Babych wasn’t the only one to be celebrating his first BCIHL goal — St Pierre, who had 13 goals and 44 points as a defenceman for the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL last season, scored his first on the power play.
SFU will return to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre next Saturday, October 17th, for their home opener against the Eastern Washington University Eagles. Last season, EWU were the last place in the BCIHL with a 7-16-1 record and SFU won the season series 3-2. SFU students get in free with student ID. Puck drop is at 7 pm.
3rd Star: SFU #9 Graham Smerek (0G, 2A)
2nd Star: TWU #17 Jamey Kreller (1G, 1A)
1st Star: SFU #24 Jaret Babych (2G, 1A)