BURNABY, BC — After the SFU Men’s Hockey Team had reclaimed a two-goal lead with a little over two minutes left, it seemed like it should be an easy finish. Instead, an Eastern Washington power play goal with 24 seconds left put fans at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre at the edge of their seats before the clock ran out and SFU emerged with the 5-4 victory.
“It was a lot of commotion going on, but in the end, we got the win,” said goaltender Ryan Sandrin.
With Lyndon Stanwood getting a rare night off, Sandrin impressed in his first BCIHL start, looking solid as he backstopped the Clan to their first back-to-back victory on the year.
“It’s always tough playing your first game not knowing what the emotion levels are going to be,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “But he did a fantastic job.”
SFU got off to a fast start, drawing an Eastern Washington penalty 1:03 in. Just 13 seconds into the man advantage, Brandon Tidy scored his third of the year to put SFU up 1-0. Mathew Berry-Lamontagna and Darnel St Pierre had the assists.
The sustained pressure continued throughout the first, with SFU outshooting Eastern Washington 19-7 in the period.
“When [they] come out hard like they did, it makes my job easier,” said Sandrin of his first frame of BCIHL play.
Eastern Washington came back from the first intermission with some fire, playing a much more competitive second frame.
Beau Walker had the period’s only goal as he put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a five-hole breakaway goal on the power play 7:47 in.
Sandrin had to stand tall, ensuring that SFU killed a 1:17 long 5-on-3. Eastern Washington netminder Tanner Loucks also put up a strong showing, turning away all of SFU’s 15 shots on the period.
Jaret Babych gave the Clan a 3-1 lead two minutes into the third, with a rocket that hit Louck’s skates to deflect in the net. Basham tallied an assist.
Goals from Eastern Washington’s Will Mix and Walker would tie up the game with 4:27 left.
A minute and a half after losing the lead, Ian Mackey put SFU back in the lead, up 4-3, and less than a minute later, Eric Callegari scored his third in two nights in what seemed like an insurance goal.
With Mix’s second of the night on the power play, however, Callegari’s fourth goal of the season would stand as the game-winner.
SFU struggled on the penalty kill, allowing three goals on seven penalties (42.7%). SFU outshot Eastern Washington 46-25, with Sandrin making 21 saves.
With the four points, SFU sits tied in the standings with Trinity Western with 2-2 records. The Clan get next weekend off, but it won’t just be a period of rest.
“We’ve got a good week of practice coming up,” said Coletta. “We don’t play next week, so we’ve got to make sure we get that competitive juices flying and create that atmosphere in practice. [. . .] Next week is an important week, because the guys have got to be ready.”
SFU will return to game action November 10th and 11 on the road against UVic and VIU. They will return home the following Saturday in a matchup against Selkirk College.
1st Star: SFU #22 Ian Mackey (1G, 0A)
2nd Star: EWU #31 Tanner Loucks (41 Saves, .891 SV%)
3rd Star: TWU #19 Tyler Basham (1G, 1A)
AROUND THE BCIHL: Dane Feeney put up two goals and Derek Georgopoulos put up three points in Selkirk College’s 6-1 thrashing of the UVic Vikes. First year goaltender Patrick Zubick was solid in net for the Saints, making 26 saves. With the win, the Saints have started the season with five consecutive wins. Selkirk will look to continue their streak tonight versus VIU . . . Eastern Washington will play Trinity Western in the second game of their Lower Mainland road trip tonight. The Eagles are looking for their first win on the season, while the Spartans can take sole possession of second place in the BCIHL standings with a win or an overtime loss.