BURNABY, BC — After a week off, the SFU Men’s Hockey Team hits the ground running this weekend, with back-to-back games on the Island against the University of Victoria Vikes and the Vancouver Island Mariners Friday and Saturday.
“We’ve got to be prepared, going to UVic is a tough place to play,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “Then we play an unknown team, for us, in VIU.
“The guys have got to be ready.”
In their last weekend of play, freshman forward Eric Callegari’s four points — three goals and one gamewinning goal — led to SFU picking up a pivotal four points against Trinity Western and Eastern Washington.
Against Trinity Western, SFU found their offensive footing on the road, winning 4-2 in a building where more than two goals are rarely scored. At home versus Eastern Washington, the Clan struggled on the penalty kill, allowing three goals, but gutted out a 5-4 win with the help of goaltender Ryan Sandrin in his first BCIHL game.
Callegari, in his short time with the team, has proven to be a consistent offensive producer and a skilled goalscorer. Brandon Tidy put up a strong showing, scoring a goal and two assists to stay in the lead for team scoring with three goals and seven points. Fourth year forward Tyler Basham potted his first goal against Eastern Washington, but is second in team scoring with six points.
Lyndon Stanwood put up a strong showing in net against Trinity Western, stopping 23 of 25 shots (.920 SV%), before getting a rare night off against Eastern Washington.
Special teams have been an area of concern for the Clan, scoring three power play goals on 35 opportunities (8.6%), and allowing nine power play goals on 33 man advantages (27.3%).
On Friday against UVic, SFU will be facing a team that has seen three straight losses, all of them against the undefeated Selkirk College Saints. The last time the Vikes won was in Burnaby in a 5-1 contest against SFU.
For the last two games, the Vikes added back star forward Patrick Holland to the roster, who had missed three games in October. Veteran forward Jack Palmer leads the team in scoring with six points, five of them assists. Second year forward Liam Shaw has been a dangerous force, putting up two goals and five points.
Goaltender Alec Dillon, a former NHL draft pick, has put up some strong games in his first BCIHL season. He made 39 saves in UVic’s 3-2 overtime loss last Saturday, and made 30 saves against SFU in UVic’s 5-1 win.
SFU will likely see either Dillon or second year netminder Michael Fredrick, who have split goaltending duties for the season.
After their first matchup was postponed, the Clan will face Vancouver Island for the first time on Saturday.
The Mariners have been competitive out the gate, with a 2-4 record and two one-goal losses. They currently occupy the fourth and final playoff spot, one spot below SFU.
VIU features four players from the 2016/17 Selkirk College Saints — forward Alex Milligan, defenceman Jordan Rauser, defenceman Garrett Halls, and former captain Tyler Kerner.
Captain Ryan Coghlan, who spent time in the WHL, is a familiar face to Lower Mainland hockey fans, having played 25 games with the Coquitlam Express of the BCHL in the 2015/16 season.
Forward Garrett Dunlop — who put up 31 goals and 80 points with the Nipawin Hawks of the SJHL in his last season of junior — leads the team in scoring with five goals and an assist. Curtis McCarrick, who had played four seasons with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, has translated his game to the college level with three goals and an assist.
SFU will return home the following weekend against Selkirk College. Friday night’s game begins at 7:30 pm, while Saturday, puck drop is at 8 pm. Both games will be streamed live on HockeyTV. Follow @SFUHockey on Twitter for live updates of both games.