Photo Credit: Garrett James
BURNABY, BC — The SFU men’s Hockey Team were unable to seal the deal and clinch first place in their penultimate regular season game against Trinity Western. Defensive mistakes and a three goal night by Spartan defenceman Kaleb Denham snapped SFU’s six-game winning streak and seven-game point streak.
“It was one of those games played between the hashmarks, there really wasn’t any sustainable pressure by both teams,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “Just simple mistakes in our own end cost us.”
Both teams traded chances in a fast-paced opening frame, but neither team put it in the back of the net. Trinity Western led in shots 10-9.
SFU were unable to capitalize on drawing three straight power plays — including one four minute power play.
Off the momentum of the four minute kill to begin the second period, Denham gave the Spartans the first lead of the night, with his first goal on the night, on the breakaway.
Missed opportunities were the theme of the first two periods for SFU, as they had a few empty net chances that were ended when the player missed the puck.
Trinity Western controlled the pace of play in the second frame, outshooting SFU 11-5.
Denham struck again, scoring just 34 seconds into the third to give the Spartans a two-goal lead.
However, SFU started to regain their form, and limited the Spartans’ shots in the period to the one that scored for more than half the period, and began pouring pressure on Silas Matthys.
The hard work paid off as Jaret Babych put the Clan within one with 8:47 left in the game, with his 11th of the year. Graham Smerek put up an assist for his 22nd point.
The comeback was in full force when Denham abruptly put up his third of the night for his first career hattrick. Despite pulling the goalie and some key pressure late, SFU were unable to solve Matthys again.
Lyndon Stanwood made 23 saves on 26 shots (.885 SV%). The game marked Stanwood’s first loss of the year, in his 11th game.
“We just have to do better job of supporting the puck in the offensive zone,“ said Coletta. “Our D-zone has got to tighten up a bit, and we’ve got to get shots. Silas is a good goalie — he saves everything he sees. So we’ve got to get better at getting traffic to him.”
SFU needs just one point to clinch first Saturday night. However, if SFU loses in regulation, Trinity Western will tie SFU in points with 36, and will take the tiebreaker with the advantage in head-to-head matchups. (SFU has five points against Trinity Western, while the Spartans currently have six).
The Clan will take on the University of Victoria in the first round of the playoffs if they achieve first place, and will face Selkirk College if they place second.
Saturday, SFU will honour graduating seniors Jesse Mysiorek and Mike Sandor as part of the ceremonies for the final regular season home game. Jordan Liem will start in net. Brendan Lamont and Adam Callegari are expected to draw back in after not playing Friday.
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.
1st Star: TWU #6 Kaleb Denham (3G, 0A)
2nd Star: TWU #34 Silas Matthys (25 Saves/26 Shots, .962 SV%)
3rd Star: SFU #1 Lyndon Stanwood (23 Saves/26 Shots, .885 SV%)
AROUND THE BCIHL: Eastern Washington had the first goal, but were to provide an answer to Selkirk College’s four consecutive goals in a 4-1 loss in Castlegar. Kyle Blondin opened the scoring for the Eagles, but just over two minutes later, Matt Martin answered back for the Saints. Selkirk College outshot Eastern Washington 33-13.