Photo Credit: Damon James
The SFU Men’s Hockey Team will look to ride a wave of momentum from a big win on home ice into the final game of a three-game homestand against the University of Victoria Vikes this Saturday, a game which could determine who sits atop the BCIHL standings.
Last Saturday, the Clan offence exploded in a 10-1 victory against Eastern Washington, returning to winning ways after a 5-2 loss to Selkirk College the weekend before. Three goals from sophomore forward Mitch Crisanti certainly fuelled the firepower, but in all, there were seven different goal scorers and 14 players credited with a point.
“The guys just [figured] it out,” said head coach Mark Coletta after Saturday’s game. “Last week we had a decent game, I guess, until the end — it was just lacklustre. We had real progress in the Alaska games and the road trip, then we kind of tailed off. We needed to find something to motivate us and that loss did motivate us.”
With the victory, the Clan move to 3-1 on the season and 1-1 at home.
The Vikes might have one of the most dynamic offences in the league, containing the BCIHL’s top three scorers — forwards Patrick Holland and Shawn Mueller, and defenceman Kyle Bird.
“UVic’s got some firepower,” said Coletta. “They’re a good team — they’re winning games for a reason. Holland and Mueller, their line we’re going to have to battle and match up against, we’re going to have to figure out what they’re doing well.”
Last year, Mueller was one of the key offensive players in the BCIHL, third in both goals and points. However, eyes will be on some of the new guys — Bird and Holland are in their first BCIHL season.
Holland is the BCIHL’s first NHL alumnus, having been drafted in the seventh round by the Calgary Flames in the seventh round and having played five games with the Montreal Canadiens in 2013/14 season. He was an elite scorer at the major junior level, with 109 points in his final season with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. Holland currently leads the BCIHL in goals with six.
Coletta, however, cautions the team against focusing too much on one player.
“He’s a good hockey player, he didn’t get a 100 points in the WHL for nothing,” he explained. “[But] it’s not only Holland, I think you can’t get caught up in the whole he played here and he played there. [We’re] playing UVic, that’s what we’re doing.”
SFU will be bringing some elite firepower of their own. Scott Patterson is fourth in BCIHL scoring with two goals and eight points in four games. Though UVic leads the league in goals scored with 23, SFU leads the league in goals per game with 4.5, and in goal differential with +9.
The Vikes currently sit in first place, ahead of SFU and Trinity Western by a point, but with two more games played. Should UVic lose to Trinity Western on Friday, SFU will be playing for a share of first place. Should UVic win that game, SFU will be looking for sole possession of second place with two games in hand.
The Clan will be without Tyler Basham, who suffered a shoulder injury against Eastern Washington, and likely without Adam Callegari, who is week-to-week. Mike Sandor, who didn’t play Saturday because of a hand injury sustained the game before, will be out until next semester.
The night will feature our annual “Hockeyween,” with booths from local businesses around the arena for kids to visit for trick or treating during the intermission. Fans in costume get free admission. SFU students get in free with student ID. Puck drop is at 7 pm. The game will also be streamed live on FASTHockey.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Mitch Crisanti — SFU
(5G, 0A, 4GP) (2015/16: 2G, 3A, 11 GP)
The former North Vancouver Wolf Pack forward has been SFU’s most potent goal scorer in October. With 33 goals in his final season of junior, Crisanti was a midseason addition to the Clan last year. This year, he is finding his way as an elite goal scorer at the BCIHL level, at an over a goal-per-game pace. Described by head coach Mark Coletta as containing one of the BCIHL’s best shots, Coletta added, “We’ve been pushing for Mitch to be a goal scorer, that’s what he is — he was that in junior — he’s a big kind of skating, free-wheeling kind of player.”
Patrick Holland — UVic
(6G, 3A, 6GP) (first season in the BCIHL)
While SFU head coach Mark Coletta is right to caution against focusing too much on one player — UVic appears to be making a case that they are first place contenders after not finishing higher than third in the regular season since the 2008/09 season, and that’s thanks to a great mix of returners and a solid recruiting class — eyes will be fixed on Patrick Holland. The BCIHL’s first NHL alumnus, an elite scorer in the WHL, who has spent tours in the AHL and Europe, Holland has already made a dent in the BCIHL scoring race, leading the league in goals with six. After a quiet first three games, Holland exploded with a four goal game to fuel an 8-4 victory against Eastern Washington. In the two games since, he has scored a goal in each.