After sweeping a home and home against the Trinity Western Spartans, the SFU Men’s Hockey has sole possession of first place in the BCIHL standings.
Friday night at the Langley Events Centre, both teams combined to score 15 goals, with SFU defeating the Spartans 10-5, in a third period flurry of goals. This marked the first time SFU has scored 10 goals in one game since October 18, 2013.
“It was one of those games that doesn’t happen too often, it’s not often you get 10 goals,” said defenceman Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, who scored his first BCIHL hat trick and put up six points in Friday’s effort. “I’ve never had a hat trick in my life, so it’s kind of cool, but the end result is what’s important — the win.”
Forward Brandon Tidy opened the scoring on the power play just 1:43 into the game. However, Trinity Western answered right back a minute later 31 seconds after to even things up. Spartan forward Jamie Russell added another to give Trinity Western a 2-1 lead.
The lead was short lived though, as Adam Callegari put in his third goal of the season two minutes later to tie the game. Freshman defenceman Dustin Cave scored his first BCIHL goal to make it 3-2 going into the first intermission.
The Spartans tied it up 6:40 into the second on the power play, but Berry-Lamontagna once again gave SFU the lead midway through the second period — which SFU would hold for the rest of the game. Vance Bridgman scored his first BCIHL goal to give SFU a comfortable 5-3 lead. Bridgman would also score his second career goal in the third period.
The third period saw seven goals scored — with five of them coming in a span of less than four minutes. Brendan Lamont and Jono Ceci also added goals in the third.
“Offensively we did really well. We’re threatening every time we entered the zone, not only off the rush, but off the cycles,” said head coach Mark Coletta.
The Spartans outshot SFU 33-26. Lyndon Stanwood made 30 saves.
Saturday’s effort was a more subdued one. SFU won 2-0 at the Bill Copeland Centre, in a game which both teams showed up with a tighter defensive effort.
“I thought both teams played real tight,” said Coletta. “You’ve got to guts out a victory, it’s even both ways [. . .] you go from one night where it’s 15 goals to a night where there’s only two, so it’s a character win, and we’ll take those.”
Goaltender Jordan Liem put up a 33 save shutout, and described watching the game — with the exception of 36.5 of which was either tied or a one goal game — nerve wracking.
“[I] tried to keep calm,” he said. “Whenever the puck comes down your way, you definitely try not to say the word ‘shutout’ in your head.
“With a 1-0 lead, a shutout, you’re holding your breath.”
The first period SFU ran into penalty problems, receiving two four minute penalties. However, the penalty kill was solid, killing all eight Spartan power play opportunities, and Liem made 16 saves in the first period alone.
“[Liem’s] a rock tonight, and he deserves it,” said Coletta.
Tidy scored the game winning goal 11:54 into the second period, with assists from Tyler Basham and Ceci. The goal was Tidy’s eighth and it marked his fourth straight game with a goal.
Ceci put in an empty netter on the power play to seal the deal with 36.5 seconds left in the game.
“I think systematically we played a really good game tonight, We didn’t give them many odd man rushes, and when there was a rush we always had three back,” said Coletta. “We’re trying to do things a little differently in these last couple weeks, it’s a work in progress.”
Liem credited his teammates for their defensive play and “lots more blocked shots.” This marks Liem’s first shutout of the season and his second one in the BCIHL.
“We just have to keep playing games like tonight,” he said.
This Saturday, the Trinity Western Spartans return to the Bill Copeland Centre for a rematch — which will be the last regular season matchup between the crosstown rivals. SFU students get in free with student ID, while adult tickets are $10 and children’s/senior’s $5. Puck drop is at 7 pm.