After finishing their pre-season with a competitive 2-0 loss against NCAA Division I Alaska Anchorage, the SFU Men’s Hockey Team are ready to begin the BCIHL regular season, starting with a pair of road games versus Eastern Washington University and Selkirk College this weekend.
Friday, the Clan will travel to Cheney, WA to take on the Eastern Washington Eagles. Despite missing the playoffs last year, the Eagles always present a challenge with a capable offence containing BCIHL scoring leader Beau Walker. Walker, an NCAA Division I transfer, had 21 goals and 39 points in the 2015/16 BCIHL season.
SFU has added some Division I firing power themselves with forward transfer Scott Patterson having joined the team. Patterson scored one goal in three pre-season games, his coming against UBC.
Among the new faces on Eastern Washington University is NCAA Division III defenceman transfer Kyle Blondin.
Last year, SFU went 5-1 against Eastern Washington. Despite losing 5-3 in their first meetup, SFU went on to win five straight games versus the Eagles and outscored them 28-21. The Eagles took two of those losses to the shootout.
On Saturday, the Clan take on the reigning BCIHL champions, the Selkirk College Saints. The Saints have won four consecutive BCIHL titles, and are predicted to be serious contenders again this year.
Last year, Selkirk led the regular season with 37 points and a goal differential of +38.
Selkirk will be missing several key players from last year’s team this season, including goaltender James Prigione, who led the BCIHL in minutes played, and captain Tanner Lenting.
However, Selkirk has 10 rookies listed, with six of them six feet or taller. With the additions of a number of skilled, offensive defencemen and forward Jack Mills, who had 30 goals and 67 points in 50 games with the Summerland Stream last season in the KIJHL, Selkirk will still be a threat.
Last season, SFU went 3-3 against Selkirk, with three of those games going to shootout. Games between these two teams are often physical, and the score can vary wildly — SFU won 8-2 last December, but Selkirk won two games 5-0 against SFU last season. Selkirk outscored SFU 21-18 in matchups last year.
Jordan Liem is expected to get the start in net for SFU for both games. Last season, Liem went 11-6 and was second in the BCIHL with a .915 SV%.
On Friday the game starts at 7:30 pm, while Saturday, puck drop is at 7 pm. Both games will be streamed online at FASTHockey. Follow @SFUHockey for live updates of both games.
The Clan will make their regular season home debut the following Saturday October 15th in a rematch against Selkirk College. Puck drop will be at 7 pm.