BURNABY – There were a few storylines to be pulled out of Saturday night’s high-scoring affair.
You might want to talk about the lineup of people trying to get into Bill Copeland to see one of the most exciting hockey teams in the Lower Mainland.
You also might want to talk about the high-event action on the ice, including 13 goals and the first fight of the 2022 BCIHL Season (more on that later).
More importantly, though, you might want to talk about how Kayla Munro became the first-ever female goaltender to skate in a regular-season BCIHL game.
This recap, however, will not be about that.
Saturday night was ultimately the tale of two games.
The First 40
SFU came out of the gates flying in their white jerseys, which have become a favourite among the players and fans alike.
It only took 6:32 for the team to get on the board, with Takato Cox scoring his first of the night, with assists by Hilton and Jallabert.
A few minutes later, Cox put up his second of the night, with assists from Hilton and Brown.
A late cross-checking penalty from Okanagan’s captain Adrian Van de Mosselaer gave SFU their first opportunity on the powerplay, where Hilton would capitalize just 14 seconds in on the rebound off of a shot from Ledyard.
The first 20 was about as perfect as it got for SFU. 3 goals, no penalties, and the special teams capitalizing on the 5-on-4.
The second 20 was almost identical.
An early trip by Nick Wagner tested SFU’s penalty kill early, and they were rewarded with their high pressure in the offensive zone, forcing Okanagan goaltender Jaden Little to shoot the puck out of play and drawing a delay of game penalty.
Once the penalty to Wagner was over, captain Mitch Ledyard and the first powerplay unit wasted no time in the offensive zone, capitalizing once again to put the team up 4-0 and going 2/2 on the powerplay.
The penalties went both ways in the 2nd, with SFU and Okanagan racking up 6 penalty minutes each.
SFU would score two more in the 2nd, including another powerplay marker from Mateo Coltellaro, and a hat-trick goal from Takato Cox to put the club up 6-0 before Okanagan’s Ty Banser responded with 1:31 left in the period to go into the 3rd 6-1.
The Final 20
This is where things took a bit of a turn.
With a comfortable 5 goal lead going into the 3rd period, Coach Mark Coletta gave goaltender Kayla Munro the nod to start the period, making her the first female player to ever skate in a regular-season BCIHL game.
Prior to Saturday, Kayla had played against this Lakers team twice, posting a 2.40 GAA and a .926 sv%.
If the game in front of Munro was played the same way as the first 40, these numbers might have held up.
Alas, that was not the case.
Before the 3rd period, Okanagan had just 8 penalty minutes, and SFU 6.
By the end of the 3rd, Okanagan had racked up 41, while SFU had 33.
SFU’s Matheiu Jallabert and Okanagan’s Quinn Van de Mosselaer started off the penalty parade by trading unpleasantries in front of the SFU net, leading to a 4-on-4 situation early on in the period.
That’s when Okanagan’s Kolton Leslie got an opportunity in front of the net at the 2:29 mark and gave the Lakers their 2nd of the night, making it a 6-2 game.
Nick Wicks then picked up his 1st as a member of SFU, making it a 7-2 game.
Okanagan would respond minutes later on the powerplay, making it 7-3 with 11 minutes to go.
Things got a bit rough after this point.
SFU’s Ryan Riggs and new Okanagan recruit Rayman Bassi got into a tussle in front of the SFU net; Bassi was assessed 2 minutes for head contact and a 10-minute misconduct. Riggs was assessed 2 minutes for head contact and 2 minutes for slashing.
Two minutes later, things got even rougher.
Okanagan’s Kolton Leslie again lead the rush into the offensive zone and drove the net. Munro covered the puck, but Leslie continued.
SFU’s Matt Brown took exception.
The two got into the first recorded fight of the BCIHL season, with Brown not holding back on Leslie as the two were tangled in the corner. Both players were assessed 5 for fighting and game misconducts, while Brown was assessed the additional 2-minute instigator penalty.
According to BCIHL rules, both Brown and Leslie will each be suspended for a minimum of one game for the fight.
Okanagan would capitalize at even strength shortly after the fight making it 7-4.
Goals from SFU’s Wicks and OKL’s Gabruch would cap off the scoring late in the 3rd.
8-5 SFU win.
Regardless of the third period, this SFU team is still undefeated, and has now clinched the top spot in the league for the 2022 BCIHL regular season.
They put up 8 goals, which is the highest single-game goal total for the team (previously 7 in a 7-1 win @ UVic), and while Okanagan has been known to have strong pushes in the 3rd period, this team kept the Lakers on their heels to hand them their 6th head-to-head loss of the 2022 regular and pre-season.
SFU has next weekend off before their final weekend of play, where they will face “the gauntlet” of BCIHL teams:
- Feb. 18th @ UVic Vikes
- Feb. 19th @ VIU Mariners
- Feb. 21st vs. Okanagan Lakers
Feb. 21st’s Family Day Matinee matchup against the Okanagan Lakers is Seniors Night and will be the final regular-season home game for SFU. Doors will open at 3 pm, and there will be a pre-game ceremony honouring our graduating players. Tickets are available now at shop.sfuhockey.com.