The SFU Men’s Hockey Team kicks off the BCIHL regular season this weekend with road games against Selkirk College and Eastern Washington University tonight and Saturday.
As they begin their journey for a fourth BCIHL Championship, SFU will feature a bit of a new look roster, featuring seven new players — five of them forwards. Having lost offensive forwards Scott Patterson, Graham Smerek, and Adam Callegari in the offseason, head coach Mark Coletta looked to add a balance of size and skill.
“Ian Mackey [is] a big forward and we’re going to look for him to give us a little bit of physical presence. With Mac Colasimone and Cam Bertsch, they’re some crafty, crafty guys who can get up on the ice and fly,” explained Coletta. “We got Eric Callegari, who, in my opinion, can do everything. He’s got a little bit of size, he’s good on the puck, he can score. He’s, again, one of those guys that’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
Colasimone is a transfer from the University of Calgary (U Sports). SFU also added walk-on Nathan Washington.
On defence, the newcomers — Austin Adam and Braxton Bilous — both come to SFU with resumes loaded with high-level experience.
Adam, a second-year transfer from the University of Western Ontario (U Sports), has logged 136 games in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and the Moose Jaw Warriors. Standing at 6’6, he puts up an intimidating presence. Bilous, who stands at 6’1, is a veteran entering his fourth year, having played both at the NCAA Division I and Division III levels.
“Our defensive core might be one of the best we’ve ever had at SFU,” said Coletta.
But in addition to the newcomers, SFU can expect offensive contributions from a wide variety of returners.
Brandon Tidy, who played much of last year on defence due to team injuries, is expected to play forward. In his first year with the team in 2015/16, he was second on the team for goals scored with 10.
Brendan Lamont led the team in points as a playmaker, putting up 25 points. Coming into his sophomore year, Daniell Lange will look to build on a freshman campaign that saw him lead the team in goals scored with 12, just ahead of returner Jaret Babych’s 11.
“This year, we’re going to have to score by committee,” said Coletta. “We’re going to have a balanced attack, four lines that can all play.”
Lyndon Stanwood will take the mantle as SFU’s lone starter, after splitting duties last season with Jordan Liem, who signed a contract with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star in the offseason. Last season, Stanwood was named the BCIHL’s top goaltender and most valuable player after posting a .934 SV% and 1.73 GAA in 11 games played, going 10-1 on the season.
Ryan Sandrin will back up Stanwood.
The first test of this new-look lineup will be tonight against the Selkirk College Saints. Dallas Calvin, who was 2nd in BCIHL scoring in 2015/16 in his freshman campaign, and dynamic forward, Dane Feeney. Both missed significant amounts of time last season, but are expected to be healthy to begin the season.
The Saints will be looking for a return to form after a disappointing first round sweep last season, following four consecutive BCIHL Championships. They lost 2016/17 Saints scoring leader Matt Martin and former BCIHL all-star Ryan Edwards to graduation, as well as Alex Milligan and former captain Tyler Kerner to transfers to Vancouver Island University. A rookie class of 11 will be depended on by the Saints.
Playing in Castlegar has traditionally been a struggle for the Clan, but last season SFU finished 2-1 at the Castlegar Recreation Centre, with a 4-2 overall record against the Saints.
On Saturday, SFU travels to Cheney, WA to take on the Eastern Washington Eagles. The Eagles are looking to make the BCIHL playoffs for the first season since their inaugural season in 2011/12. Eastern Washington possesses one of the most dangerous forwards in the league, Beau Walker. Goaltender Austin Brihn showed moments of brilliance last season, and will be returning as the starter.
Last season, SFU went 6-0 against the Eagles.
Puck drop is at 7 pm tonight and 7:30 pm Saturday.
SFU will open at home the following Saturday against BCIHL newcomers Vancouver Island Mariners.