BURNABY, BC — The SFU Men’s Hockey Team will make their home debut this Saturday against the defending BCIHL Champions, the University of Victoria Vikes.
SFU enters the contest with a 1-1 record, splitting contests on the road over opening weekend.
Against Selkirk College on October 6th, Daniell Lange put up the first goal of the 2017/18 BCIHL regular season SFU and cruised to a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. However, the team struggled and allowed six consecutive goals to drop the season opener. The next night, SFU started similar, and put up a 4-0 lead midway through the second frame, but were able to close out the night with a 7-3 win.
Last Saturday’s scheduled home game versus Vancouver Island University was postponed.
Over two games, scoring has been a team effort for the Clan. Twelve players have found their way on the scoresheet, and eight of them have two points or more. Brandon Tidy leads the team with two goals — both shorthanded — and two assists. Lange and Pavlo Zerebecky have both put up two goals.
Of the newcomers, Eric Callegari — a pure freshman — is the first to find the back of the net. Defenceman Austin Adam — a 192 game WHL veteran and a U Sports transfer — has shown himself as adept as a setup man, putting up two assists. NCAA Division I alumnus Braxton Bilous has one assist on the weekend.
The Vikes have put up one loss at home against Trinity Western to open the season. Similar to SFU’s game against Selkirk College, UVic ended the first period with a 2-0 lead off of goals from Jack Palmer and Patrick Holland. They built a 3-1 lead in the third period, but Trinity Western answered back with five straight goals in the last 6:07 of the game.
Last season, after just nine wins in the regular season, the Vikes surprised SFU and Trinity Western in Cinderella run to take the BCIHL Championship. Looking to repeat, UVic did lose some key pieces — star forward Shaun Mueller, who led the team in scoring with 29 points, and key goal scorer Luciano Somerville.
The returners, however, are also high-impact players. Right behind Mueller was former NHL and AHL forward Holland, who impressed in his first year with 28 points. Kyle Bird, who won defenceman of the year in his freshman season with 23 points, will return. Eight out of the 10 top scorers on the team return for 2017/18.
Goaltending recruit Alec Dillon will be of particular interest to BCIHL fans. A 6’5 netminder out of Nanaimo, BC, Dillon was drafted in the fifth round (150th overall) by the LA Kings out of the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL. He then went on to play 47 games with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL and seven games with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. Goaltender Michael Fredrick, who played 10 games last season, will also be an option in net, having played the first game of the season.
Before facing SFU, UVic will take on Trinity Western in a rematch Friday in Langley.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for children under 6 or for SFU students with valid ID. All October 14th game tickets will be accepted for admittance. The game will also be streamed live on HockeyTV. Puck drop is at 7 pm.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Brandon Tidy — SFU
(2G, 2A, 2GP) (2016/17: 5G, 9A, 20GP)
After spending much of last season on defence due to team injuries, Brandon Tidy is expected to play much of the season at forward. A versatile player, Tidy can do a little bit of everything. Defensively responsible, he’s also a more than capable goal scorer, putting up 10 goals in 2015/16, the second-most that season. Tidy put up two goals in SFU’s 7-3 win against Eastern Washington, both of them shorthanded.
Patrick Holland — UVic
(2G, 1A, 1GP) (2016/17: 14G, 14A, 24GP)
With Shaun Mueller having graduated, Patrick Holland will be looked upon to lead the Vikes on offence. Last season, it seemed like it took a few games for the former Calgary Flames draft pick to acclimatize to the BCIHL, before his five-point, four goal breakout in game four. This season, he’s on a hot tear right off the bat with a three-point performance in game one. It’s not unimaginable that he’ll have an even bigger year in his sophomore year. If there were BCIHL fantasy hockey, he’d be a solid first overall pick.