SFU Men’s Hockey lost a 4-3 heartbreaker in overtime to the University of Victoria Vikes to close out the regular season, having surrendered a 3-1 lead going into the third period.
Initially, it was SFU with the comeback effort, after UVic had the only goal of the first period despite being outshot 13-7. The Clan put up a three goal second period, with goals from Brandon Tidy, Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, and Jaret Babych — with two goals on the power play.
After being outshot 14-4 in the second period, the Vikes, turned the tide in the third, taking advantage of SFU penalties. UVic forward Linden Horswill brought the Vikes within one with a power play goal with 6:23 left, and they completed the comeback effort, tying up the game with only 44 seconds left during four on four play.
A penalty with only 27 seconds left in regulation put SFU on the penalty kill for the beginning of overtime. The Vikes took advantage of the power play, and hammered in the game winner only 34 seconds into overtime.
The loss marked SFU’s first overtime loss. Prior to the game, all SFU games that have gone into overtime required a shootout, of which the Clan have a perfect 6-0 record. It also marked the first time this season that SFU has put up consecutive losses.
“I thought we battled back in the second nicely, and I thought in the third we were kind of vanilla, there was that middle area where we just rested on the 3-1 lead,” said head coach Mark Coletta.
Jordan Liem played the first two periods and made 10 saves of 11 shots (.909 SV%). For the third period, second year goaltender Dominic Stadnyk made his first appearance this year, facing 15 shots.
“Dominic’s been a good guy in the dressing room, a team guy, sometimes you got to reward guys and get them on the ice,” said Coletta. “[But] we wanted to get Liem back in, because it’s the last week and since he suffered the loss [last week], and we want to get him back on the horse and get him accustomed to playing . He deserved it and played well while he was in there.”
The game also honoured the team’s graduating seniors — Matthew Luongo, Saylor Preston, Vance Bridgman, and Jono Ceci — who were taking part in their last regular season game. All four players were part of the starting lineup.
“All four of them, they’ve not only dedicated their lives to hockey, but to get an education. Doing both things is not easy, people take it for granted. They’re at the rink everyday, on campus, they’re in class everyday,” said Coletta. “To me those four guys have earned their right to get acknowledged, [. . .] and hopefully we can bring them a championship.”
Ceci increased his hold over the all time BCIHL scoring record to 177, with his two assists on the night.
With the regular season done, now the Clan look to the BCIHL playoffs, looking to claim their first BCIHL championship since the 2010/11 season. Last year, SFU fell to the Selkirk College Saints in the BCIHL finals.
For the third consecutive year, SFU will face the Trinity Western Spartans in the first round. Last year, the fourth placed Clan upset the league leading Spartans, sweeping them in two games. This year, the Clan are 5-1-0 against their crosstown rivals.
Playoff action begins this Friday, with SFU hosting game one at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. Trinity Western will host the second game Saturday night at the George Preston Recreation Centre. If a game three is required, SFU will host it Sunday night. All puck drops are at 7 pm.
For the games at the Bill Copeland, SFU students get in free with student ID, while adult tickets are $10 and children’s/senior’s $5.