BURNABY, BC — The SFU Men’s Hockey Team looks to get back in the win column this week, with back-to-back games against Trinity Western Spartans and the Eastern Washington Eagles. On Thursday, the team faces the Spartans in Langley, before returning to the Bill Copeland on Friday take on the Eagles.
Head coach Mark Coletta sees it as a must-win weekend.
“[It’s a] short season, 25 games,” he explained. “We can’t afford to go into Trinity and not play our best and win that hockey game. You don’t want to be behind the eight ball early in the year.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re on our toes and ready.”
After starting the season with 1-1 split on the road, SFU struggled on the power play in a 5-1 loss to the University of Victoria. Mathew Berry-Lamontagna’s power play goal in the second period was the lone bright spot on the scoresheet.
Thursday’s contest will feature one of the most heated rivalries in the BCIHL — the two Lower Mainland teams and frequent playoff rivals tend to play intense, high emotion games against each other.
While SFU has put up a 1-2 record to start the year, Trinity Western has cruised to a 3-1 record, with the only blip a 2-1 loss at home to Vancouver Island, in which they outshot them 43-26. Last weekend, before the Vikes faced SFU, Trinity Western dominated them in an 11-1 win at home.
Last year’s BCIHL scoring leader Evan Last has continued the pace for the Spartans, putting up four goals and seven points in four games to share the team lead in points. Veterans Dirk de Waal and Florian Niedermaier have put up six and seven points each, while former WHL forward Brandon Potomak has impressed in his freshman season so far, with seven points.
In net for TWU, fifth year veteran Silas Matthys returns as the starter, and is one of the league’s most reliable netminders with a career .921 SV%. Behind him is Lucas Mills, who despite limited playing time in the 2015/16 season, achieved two shutouts and a .964 SV% and 1.12 GAA.
At home Friday night, SFU will face an Eastern Washington team hungry for its first win of the season. Despite dropping four games, the Eagles have been closing the gap, falling by only one goal in both of their most recent contests. SFU spoiled the Eastern Washington home opener with a 7-3 win that saw both Brandon Tidy and Pavlo Zerebecky score twice — three of those goals shorthanded.
Eastern Washington’s Beau Walker is dangerous every time he’s on the ice, having put up two goals and six points in two games played so far. He has missed two games, but played in EWU’s most recent matchup against Vancouver Island last Friday. Fifth year forward Paxton Bell has been a mainstay on the Eagles’ offensive attack. Third year forward Colton St John has put up an impressive three goals and five points, after going pointless in the 2016/17 season.
For Friday’s home game, tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for children under 6 or for SFU students with valid ID. The game will also be streamed live on HockeyTV. Puck drop is at 7 pm.