SFU Hockey opened the preseason with a 6-0 loss to the UBC Thunderbirds in front of 516 fans at the Father David Bauer Arena at UBC. The Thunderbirds are a varsity team that plays in the CIS.
“We’re taking all the positives out of this one,” said Mike Sandor. “This is a little higher speed than we’re used to, so it’s good to get this kind of match-up to start us off.”
The Clan managed to hold the Thunderbirds scoreless in an energy-filled, chippy first period. The two teams were tied in shots with seven each, with both teams failing to convert on their power play opportunities.
However, 50 seconds into the second period, UBC rookie Josh Connolly, an alumni of the Kamloops Blazers and the Prince George Cougars in the WHL, opened up the scoring. The second period would see a total of five goals by the varsity Thunderbirds.
UBC would would top up the score with one more goal with a little over two minutes left in the game. SFU was unable to capitalize on their six power play chances. Jordan Liem and rookie Lyndon Stanwood, who’s spent time in the BCHL and the NCAA, split goaltending duties for the Clan.
Despite the lopsided game, head coach Mark Coletta was pleased with the team’s physical game.
“I thought the physicality was great, and was a testament to our guys going up against a bigger team,” he told the media after the game.
Coletta saw the game as a chance to evaluate the team.
“In the coach’s head, you look for the compete level, who’s there, who’s playing, who’s giving it 100%, no matter what the score is, no matter what the competition we’re playing [. . .] who’s willing to give up, who’s not willing to give up, and in a 5-0 score or a 6-0 score, those are the guys who are going to be there for you in the end,” he said. “Every guy’s fighting for a job on this team.”
Tonight, the Clan will have a chance to avenge the loss in a preseason match against crosstown and league rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans. Last season, the Spartans lead the BCIHL in the regular season with seven points more than the second-placed team. However, SFU eliminated TWU in a first round upset in the BCIHL playoffs.
Puck drop is 7 pm tonight at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.