Photo Credit: Garrett James
The SFU Men’s Hockey Team close out a near month-long stretch on the road by heading to the Langley Events Centre Friday in the first matchup of the season with their crosstown rivals, the Trinity Western University Spartans, who are undefeated at home in four games.
SFU currently sits in first place with a 7-1-1 record, good for 15 points. Trinity Western is just behind, three points back from the Clan but with a game in hand. An SFU victory gives the Clan a five point cushion for their BCIHL lead, but a loss puts the Spartans just a point back with one less game played.
It will be a match between the league’s best offence and defence. SFU leads the BCIHL in goals scored with 48 — 15 more than any other team — and claim the league’s best goal differential with +28. Trinity Western, meanwhile, have allowed the least amount of goals against, having only allowed 14 goals in eight games (1.75 per game).
“They’ve got a lot of talent on their team. Obviously, their record speaks for itself. The goaltending has always been good, [. . .] their backline’s good, and they’ve got some guys who can score,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “It’s going to be a big test for us, and the road’s always tough.”
The Clan are coming off a weekend that saw them win 11-1 and 6-1 in back-to-back nights, and saw 11 different players pot goals and 15 players collect points.
“[We have to] make sure we get back to the basics here, and I don’t think things will be as easy when we play Trinity,” said Coletta. “They’re a different animal, so we’re going to have to make sure we’re systematic in that we’re executing on all cylinders. I think our systems are the main thing — we preach that. Execution is going to be key in any game we play.”
Trinity Western has won five of their last six games, their most recent a 6-0 victory against the University of Victoria Vikes. The story for the Spartans is youth, with their two top producers of offence being freshman. Forwards Evan Last and Jarrett Fontaine sit fourth and fifth in BCIHL scoring. Last has four goals and nine assists on the season, and had three assists against UVic last game, while Fontaine has scored in each of his last three games and has had a point in all eight games played.
The Spartan blueline features former Selkirk College Saint Stefan Gonzales, “a proven winner” who has two goals and four assists in eight games. In net, Silas Matthys has been dominant with a 2.17 GAA and a .927 SV%, with one shutout. But the Spartans have options in net, with backup freshman Lucas Mills, who in two games played has allowed only one goal on 56 shots.
A goaltender for the Clan will not be chosen until after today’s practice, but SFU too has options in net. Jordan Liem has been solid with a .922 SV% and 2.32 GAA in six games played. Lyndon Stanwood has not allowed more than two goals in a game, and has .932 SV% in three games played.
For Clan fans looking to make the trip to the Langley Events Centre, tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for SFU students, students from schools other than TWU, children 13-18, and seniors. Children 7-12 get in for $2 and children six and under get in free. The game will be streamed live on FASTHockey and follow @SFUHockey on Twitter for live updates. Puck drop is at 7 pm.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Adam Callegari — SFU
(4G, 7A, 6GP) (2015/16: 3G, 6A, 14 GP)
Despite missing three games due to injury, Adam Callegari is still second in points on SFU. Callegari is hot off a weekend that saw him score three goals in two games. In his third season with the team, he was put on a line with SFU scoring leader Scott Patterson and Brendan Lamont, where he has exploded offensively. A capable goal scorer and an even better playmaker — having 26 goals and 44 assists in his final season with the Aldergrove Kodiaks of the PJHL — he looks to poised to continue his pace.
Jarrett Fontaine — TWU
(6G, 6A, 8GP) (first season in the BCIHL)
The story for the Spartans is the youth movement, with two freshmen leading the charge on offence. Jarrett Fontaine is first in goals scored on the team with six, and second in points to fellow freshman Evan Last with 12, good for fifth in the league. A 5’5 forward, Fontaine is riding on a three game goal streak, with four goals in that span. In the last five, he has scored six goals. Fontaine hasn’t been kept off the scoresheet once yet this season, with a point in every game.