Photo Credit: Garrett James
This week, the SFU Men’s Hockey Team returns to the Lower Mainland for a home and home against the Trinity Western University Spartans. First, the Clan will travel to the Langley Events Centre on Thursday, before returning to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre for the first time in 2017 Saturday night.
While SFU finished last weekend with a rare regulation home win in Castlegar, and maintained their first place spot, the team are hungering for more after losing the second game of a back-to-back against Selkirk College 4-2.
“We’re never happy when we lose, so we’ve got to make sure we get better and get ready for Trinity,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “There’s still a lot of hockey left, we’ve still got a job to do, and we’ve got some big games on the horizon.”
With SFU sitting in first, Trinity Western is the team immediately behind them — the two teams are neck and neck. The Clan currently occupies the mantle with 23 points, but Trinity Western are just two points back, with a game in hand.
Both teams have seen significant offensive contributions from new players. For the Clan, NCAA Division I transfer Scott Patterson leads the team in scoring with 22 points and seven goals, and is third in the BCIHL, while freshman Daniell Lange sits second in goals scored on the team with eight.
For the Spartans, first year forwards Evan Last and Jarrett Fontaine have taken the league by storm, both dominating the BCIHL scoring race — Last leading the league in points with 23, while Fontaine is first in goals scored with 12, and is fourth in points with 21.
While SFU is most offensively potent team in the BCIHL with 74 goals — 17 more goals scored than any other team — Trinity Western dominates the other end of the spectrum, having allowed only 27 goals. SFU is second in the league in goals allowed, having only allowed 37 in a 15 game span.
“They’ll be a little bit more cat and mouse, they like to sit back and absorb and counterpunch, so we’ve got to be ready for those kinds of things as well,” said Coletta about Trinity Western. “It’s a totally different mindset when we play them.”
The two teams have only faced each other once in the regular season. Trinity Western won 3-1 in a matchup at the Langley Events Centre on November 18. Last season, SFU had the regular season advantage, going 5-1 against the Spartans, but fell in two games in a first round playoff matchup.
Saturday will mark SFU’s first home game at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre since December 3.
For the SFU 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 for both games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Scott Patterson — SFU
(7G, 15A, 13GP) (first season in the BCIHL)
There seems to be a recurring theme with this team of players coming back from injury feeling hot. First it was Tyler Basham, who came back from a shoulder injury with five goals in four games. Now, it’s Scott Patterson’s turn, having scored three goals and four points in two games last weekend, after missing the previous two — the last games of 2016 — with injury. Patterson’s always had a great shot — and been a great set-up man — but seemed a bit snakebitten in the first semester of play. He’s due for some goals, so expect that goal total to rise throughout the second half of the season.
Evan Last — TWU
(5G, 18A, 14GP) (first season in the BCIHL)
Despite the loss of a number of key offensive veterans, Trinity Western has continued to roll this season as one of the top teams in the BCIHL. A big part of the reason why is recruiting. Their attack is led by two freshmen — Evan Last and Jarrett Fontaine. Fontaine is more of the goal scorer of the two — leading the BCIHL with 12 — but Last is the playmaker who makes things happen. Last’s 23 points lead the league.