The Simon Fraser University Clan Men’s Hockey team welcomed the last place Eastern Washington Eagles to Bill Copeland Arena January 31st. SFU came into the game looking to snap their four game losing streak while EWU was on a three game losing streak of their own. SFU was able to ride four power play goals and a Mathew Berry-Lamontagna shootout winner to beat the Eagles 5-4 and end their four game losing streak.
SFU needed to get off to a fast start and they did just that in the first period. SFU managed to direct 21 shots towards EWU’s net against just 5 shots for the American club. EWU did, however, score first as Ricky Doubrava found himself all alone in front and squeaked the puck past SFU goalie Dominic Stadnyk. The Clan answered back in a big way with two power play goals. First, Mathew Berry-Lamontagna wristed a seeing eye shot through a large crowd and then Jono Ceci received a lucky bounce off the backboards to burry the puck into a yawning cage.
The second period didn’t go as well for the home side. Only five minutes into the middle frame, Eagles’ defenseman JR Strait wired home a howitzer of a shot on the power play from the top of the circle to tie the game at 2. Despite a good push back from the Clan, it was the Eagles who struck next when Jason Shuck found himself all alone in front of Dominic Stadnyk and slid the puck past the SFU netminder. The script was flipped from the first period as EWU outshot SFU 13-5 in the frame and registered two huge goals to take a 3-2 lead heading into the final twenty minutes.
SFU hadn’t won a game when trailing after 40 minutes all season long. But just eight seconds into the third, Jono Ceci broke in down the wing and fed a perfectly placed cross crease pass to Nick Sandor for an easy tap in. SFU began to take control of possession and their dominance paid off when Graham Smerek crashed the EWU crease on the power play and muscled home his third goal of the season. The 4-3 lead was short lived, however, because EWU answered right back when Tanner Hawes fired a shot from the point that found its way into the back of the net. The deadlock remained throughout the rest of the third and the two teams shared a point as they headed to overtime.
The game wasn’t decided in the extra frame, but there were plenty of back and forth action. The most notable scoring chances came in the final thirty seconds when Stadnyk was forced to make a lightning quick toe save off a shot from the point at one end and down at the other EWU goaltender Tyler O’Donnell turned away a point black Tyler Basham attempt.
Nobody could solve either goalie in the shootout except for Mathew Berry-Lamontagna. The first year player burst in on O’Donnell with speed and rifled the game winning shot past the EWU keeper blocker side. The goal was Berry-Lamontagna’s second shootout winner of the season.
With the win, SFU extended their lead over EWU in the standings to seven points and closed the gap on Selkirk and Victoria. Next weekend SFU faces the daunting task of playing Selkirk and EWU on the road on back-to-back nights. But with the win on Saturday, the Clan will look to carry over their momentum into the final two road games of the season.