Despite a late third period surge and cutting the lead down to two, a four goal deficit and penalties would lead to a 5-3 loss for SFU Men’s Hockey at their home opener against the Eastern Washington University Eagles in front of 1473 fans.
Both teams combined for a total of 66 penalty minutes, with SFU accounting for 38 of those minutes.
“After last week’s penalty barrage, the one thing we had to do was stay out of the box,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “We addressed it all week [. . .] and we didn’t do a good job of it.”
A three goal second period effort by the Eagles sank the momentum of a first period which saw both teams trade power play goals and the Clan lead shots 10-4.
First year Eastern Washington forward Trevor Zakrajsek would open the scoring 7:30 into the first period. Tyler Basham would answer back for SFU with his second of the year, in just as many games, with 1:53 in the period.
SFU started the second with good puck possession, however, a little under seven minutes in, Eagles forward Brett Mathews knocked in his own rebound to make it 2-1 for Eastern Washington.
Only 18 seconds later, it appeared that SFU had tied up the game. However, the goal was waved off due to what was ruled to be a distinct kicking motion.
Instead, SFU took another penalty only eight seconds later, and 14 seconds into the Eagles’ fifth power play opportunity of the game, Jesse Collins gave Eastern Washington a 3-1 lead.
To add insult to injury, SFU would allow a shorthanded goal late in the period, scored by 2014/15 BCIHL leading scorer Beau Walker, who tallied 18 goals and 49 points in 21 games last season. Walker would add another 5:16 into the third to give the Eagles a dominant 5-1 lead. With his second goal of the night, Walker brings his season total to five goals and eight points in four games, putting him in a tie for the BCIHL scoring race.
Under two minutes later, Basham would add his second goal of the night to cut the the EWU lead to three. Basham leads the team in goals scored with three in two games.
Brandon Tidy scored his first goal in an SFU jersey on a power play with 1:46 left in the game with an assist from freshman defenceman Robson Cramer. Despite a series of solid chances in the dying minutes of the game, SFU would lose 5-3.
Second year goaltender Jordan Liem started the game for the Clan, making 21 saves on 26 shots (.808 SV%). Liem made a number of key saves and put in a solid performance despite five goals against.
Lyndon Stanwood made his BCIHL debut coming into relieve Liem after the fifth goal scored with 14:44 left in the third. Stanwood, who impressed during preseason with a .949 SV% against BCIHL competition, was perfect on 12 shots against.
“The goaltending’s not an issue for us,” said Coletta, who was optimistic the team would return to winning ways next weekend. “They’ll figure it out, they’re good core guys, I think we got good leadership in there.”
With the loss, SFU is now 1-1-0, and looks to get above .500 again next Saturday when they return home to face the University of Victoria Vikes. Last season, the Clan went 2-5 against the Vikes. SFU students get in free with student ID. Puck drop is at 7pm.