Photo Credit: Garrett James
SFU Men’s Hockey looks to close out the 2016 calendar year with back-to-back wins Friday and Saturday against the University of Victoria Vikes at home.
Head coach Mark Coletta was adamant about the expectations of the weekend.
“We’ve got to finish off with two [wins],” he said. “I told the guys anything less is not successful.”
The Clan currently sit in first place with 8-2-1 record and 17 points, one point ahead of both Selkirk College and Trinity Western (though Selkirk has played one more game than Trinity Western). Since Trinity Western plays twice next weekend — once against Selkirk and once against Eastern Washington — SFU will likely need to win to keep their hold on first place.
SFU is 2-0-1 against the Vikes, and have won the sole matchup at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
The Vikes currently sit in fourth place with a 5-6-1 record. They bursted out to first place early in the season, but a four game losing streak at the end of October has been hard for them to recover from in the standings. They are one of two teams with a negative goal differential (while SFU leads in that category with +30).
However, UVic are still one of the most offensively dangerous teams in the BCIHL. They have three players in the top 10 BCIHL scoring list, including BCIHL scoring leader Shaun Mueller, who has nine goals and 11 assists in 12 games played. Freshman defenceman Kyle Bird leads in scoring from defencemen — by six points — with four goals and 18 points. First year forward Patrick Holland is tied for the second-most goals scored in the league.
The Vikes are coming off a 10-5 victory against Eastern Washington last Friday, coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the first period with eight unanswered goals in the second frame. Luciano Somerville had five of those goals, and currently sits just outside the BCIHL top 10 scoring at 12th.
“They always work hard and they play us probably the toughest they play any team in the league. Uvic’s got those players that can be impact guys — Mueller, Holland, Somerville — and their goaltending is really good,” said Coletta. “They always play us tough when they come over here, and I don’t expect anything different. Our guys just have to make sure they are ready to go.”
In the last eight games, SFU has collected 13 of a possible 16 points.
While SFU points leader Scott Patterson is unlikely to play with an upper body injury sustained last game, his linemates Adam Callegari and Brendan Lamont have continued to dominate. When Patterson left the game Saturday, freshman Daniell Lange — who has five goals in November — was added to the line, and put up two goals.
The offence will also get a boost as Mitch Crisanti slots back into the lineup. Crisanti leads the team in goals scored with seven.
Goaltender Lyndon Stanwood will get the start Friday night, and will be backed up by first year netminder Ryan Sandrin, as Jordan Liem is ineligible to play because of a game misconduct incurred at the end of regulation on Saturday. Liem is expected to start Saturday night, however.
Puck drop is at 7 pm for both games at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. It’s two for one night — buy tickets for Friday’s game and receive free admission Saturday, if you bring your ticket stub. Bring your worst sweater Friday night, as it’s Bad Sweater Night — there’s prizes. 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 FASTHockey.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Lyndon Stanwood — SFU
(1.50 GAA, .945 SV%, 4GP) (2015/16: 4.11 GAA, .870 SV%, 8 GP)
While he probably won’t start both games this weekend, Lyndon Stanwood has been on fire of late. With a late start to the season because of an ankle injury in the pre-season, he has dominated since. With four wins in four starts, Stanwood has not allowed more than two goals in a game. He’s coming off two consecutive one-goal performances. While SFU won 5-1 Saturday, the team probably wouldn’t have been able to come back from a second period where they gave up too many chances and too many penalties, if it weren’t for Stanwood’s performance, which ended up stopping 34 shots.
Kyle Bird — UVic
(4G, 14A, 8GP) (first season in the BCIHL)
A freshman defenceman, Kyle Bird has proven himself to already be one of the best offensive defencemen in the league. And while Bird hasn’t put up points in every game played, when it rains, it pours. He has five multi-point games, including a five point game and a four point game. Along with the addition of Patrick Holland, Bird has helped UVic solidify a solid offensive core.