Photo Credit: Damon James
Hot off of two straight wins, SFU Men’s Hockey head to Victoria for back-to-back games against the University of Victoria Vikes, with the first game starting tonight.
It will be a rematch of Saturday night’s effort, when the Clan beat the Vikes 4-2 at home. It was a team effort to take down the Victoria-based rival, with four different players potting goals — Spencer Unger, Mak Barden, Jaret Babych, and Mitch Crisanti. Goaltender Lyndon Stanwood, who made his first start of the season, was sharp, making 24 saves on 26 shots (.923 SV%).
“If [Saturday] was any indication, [it’s] going to be tight,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “They have a smaller ice rink and it’s going to be tighter and way more in your face.
“It’s a totally different game at UVic.”
SFU is currently 4-1, with a 2-0 record on the road, which includes a hard fought win in Castlegar against the Selkirk College Saints. Last season, SFU were 3-2-1 against the Vikes, but were 1-2 at the Ian Stewart Complex.
The Vikes will be coming in hungry for a win, currently in the midst of a four game losing streak after opening their season 3-1 to take the early BCIHL standings lead. They have had a hard time at home, going 1-2-1 at the Ian Stewart Complex, with their only home win coming in their season opener.
UVic holds three of the BCIHL’s top four scorers, with Shaun Mueller occupying the first spot with six goals, 13 points in eight games; defenceman Kyle Bird in second with four goals, 12 points; and Patrick Holland occupies fourth with six goals and nine points. Mueller scored twice against SFU on Saturday, and finished third in BCIHL scoring last season.
They also have some goaltending depth. Zack Wear made 38 saves on 41 shots Saturday versus the Clan, and earned first star honours. Wear’s strong play in net nearly led to a UVic comeback. Scott Legault also has some history against the Clan, putting up two consecutive games last season in January where he took first star honours against SFU, facing over 40 shots in each.
SFU will be aided by the expected return of forward Adam Callegari, who missed the three previous games with injury. Prior to his injury, Callegari shared the lead in team points. Defenceman Darnel St Pierre is expected to slot in.
Jordan Liem is expected to get the start tonight. In four games, Liem has a 3-1 record and a .933 SV%.
For both tonight’s and tomorrow’s game, puck drop is at 7:30 pm. The game will be streamed live on FASTHockey.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Jaret Babych — SFU
(2G, 1A, 4GP) (2015/16: 5G, 1A, 13 GP)
The son of legendary Canucks defenceman Dave Babych, Jaret plays up front. A physical forward who’s not afraid to use his body, he has a knack for scoring goals. With two two-goal games in the first three games last season, Jaret showed what his hands could do, before suffering an injury a few games later that kept him out until mid-January. Now, he’s one of the players the team will lean on to provide some timely offence.
Shaun Mueller — UVic
(6G, 7A, 8GP) (2015/16: 12G, 21A, 24 GP)
While many fans last weekend were curious to see how ex-NHLer and first year forward Patrick Holland would fare in the BCIHL, fifth year forward Shaun Mueller stole the show. With two goals against SFU, and many more dangerous opportunities, he gave UVic a solid chance for a comeback. With Eastern Washington’s Beau Walker out for an extended time, Mueller — who finished third last year — would be a good bet for the BCIHL scoring title.