The Simon Fraser University Men’s Hockey team finally hit the ice for the first time after a long Christmas break against the University of Victoria Vikes on Saturday night at Bill Copeland Arena. SFU was unable to shake off the rust from a month long break and eventually fell 5-2 to the visiting Vikes.
With Victoria having played the night before against Eastern Washington and SFU lacing the skates up for the first time in over a calendar month, rust played a factor in the first period. SFU took the first penalty of the game and UVic’s BCIHL leading power play made them pay as Shawn Mueller fired a shot past Andrew Parent from the low slot.
The score was tied, however, with 12:13 to go on a power play of SFU’s own when Taylor Piller caused a raucous scene in front of the UVic net and Trent Murdoch was able to fire home the loose puck. UVic’s Cole Conway added another tally for the visitors later in the period, as, while SFU played hard, they weren’t as crisp as they were heading into the break.
The second period was a rather unfortunate one for SFU. SFU outshot UVic 14-9 but were outscored 2-1 in the frame as Parent found himself facing a bunch of bad puck luck. SFU started the period out well enough as Robby Jang, playing his first BCIHL, got his first college goal with a seeing eye wrister from the point. But things began to sour there.
UVic responded to Jang’s marker with two goals of their own. One came off of a two on one break and the other when Victoria captain Evan Warner muscled the puck passed Parent from in close. While SFU was controlling offensive zonetime, Victoria was in charge of what counts the most: the scoreboard.
SFU has not come back to win while down after the second period so far this season and the trend continued Saturday night. The Vikes played a near perfect road period as Warner got his second of the game and Victoria outshot SFU 13-5 in the frame. SFU could muster little offense and the game finished 5-2.
The game against Victoria was not the way Head Coach Mark Coletta wanted to start 2015. SFU now sits third in the BCIHL after having been leapfrogged by Victoria. With two games coming up against the Trinity Western Spartans, the Clan will need a better performance than what they displayed against Victoria, especially in the third period, if they are to close the gap on the first place team from Langley. SFU has bounced back from tough losses all season and the same should be expected after this tough game.