by Austin Cozicar
NANAIMO, BC — After two high scoring victories on the Island over the weekend, the SFU Hockey Team has earned home ice advantage in the first round of the BCIHL playoffs with a second place in the regular season standings.
“The guys are excited. We play amongst family and friends, and Bill Copeland’s a nice arena to be in, it’s a pretty fun place to play when it’s filled,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “Guys get to sleep in their own beds, focus on their studies for the week without worrying about travel — I think that’s pretty important for our guys. Last change is important, especially against a team like VIU.”
On Friday, SFU beat UVic 7-2, with 12 different players recording a point in the contest.
Ty Westgard, Arjun Badh, and Jacob Lacasse combined for three goals in the first five minutes of the second frame, while Arjan Cheema capped off a high octane night on offence with a goal with 2:45 left in the third.
The third period saw a bunch of rough stuff between the two teams, with Tanaka fighting UVic’s Kyle Bird.
Heading to Nanaimo Saturday, SFU needed at least a point against VIU to take second and home ice advantage.
SFU got to work early, with Badh and Mac Colasimone making it 2-0 heading into the first intermission.
Mathieu Jallabert and Westgard made it 4-0 after two, and Mitch Ledyard, Takato Cox, Lacasse (twice), and Astill each scored for a dominant 9-1 victory over the team they will be facing next week in the first round of the BCIHL playoffs.
Patrick Zubick had a busy night, stopping 39 of 40 shots (.975 SV%).
“We utilized our team speed, in our d-zone we kept them to the outside for the most part, and we eliminated odd man rushes,” said Coletta.
Now SFU turns their attention to the first round of the playoffs, which begin Friday, March 13, and will see a best of three series against VIU, all hosted at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. The winner of this series will face the victor of the Trinity Western-Selkirk College series for the BCIHL Finals.
“Playoffs are a different animal, we don’t expect a 9-1 result again, and obviously VIU’s a quality team and they’re going to be a tough contest for us next week,” said Coletta. “They’re a big strong team so we need to get to the dirty areas, even though they’re going to be boxing out and playing that rough style of hockey. I think our guys are ready for the task.”
Puck drop is at 7 pm for the first game Friday, and game two goes Saturday night at 7 pm. Game three, if necessary, will be played on Sunday at 7pm.