Last weekend was very much a hot and cold one for the Simon Fraser University Men’s Hockey team. The squad rolled into Selkirk and won a tight contest in the shootout but then found themselves on the losing end against the Eastern Washington Eagles the night after. The road trip was indicative of SFU’s season as a whole because the Clan has been unable to string multiple wins together.
SFU’s stretch drive to the playoffs only gets harder when the first place Trinity Western Spartans come to the Bill Copeland Arena on Valentine’s Day. TWU has already clinched the top spot in the BCIHL, but don’t expect any let down from Barret Kropf’s men because the Spartans will want to regain momentum after a tough loss to Victoria last week.
For Head Coach Mark Coletta and his SFU club, the game presents a challenge to get back on track against the top ranked team. SFU is also only 3 points behind Victoria for second place and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The BCIHL has been dominated by the home teams this season and with the standings as tight as they are, SFU will need all the points they can get towards the end of the season.
Coming off of the tying goal and shootout winner against Selkirk last week as well as a first star performance the last time he laced up the skates at Bill Copeland, Mathew Berry-Lamontagna has been a rookie sensation on the Clan’s blueline. The first year player has brought great puck moving ability and a solid defensive awareness to make him the player to watch against the highflying Spartans’ offense.
SFU leading scorer Nick Sandor is also beginning to heat up as the veteran has four points over his last three games after a stretch that saw him only net one point in the first four games of 2015. Sandor will be relied heavily on to put the puck in the back of the net and his form over the last couple of games suggests he’s willing to take up that task.
Trinity Western poses a great challenge for the Clan. The top ranked Spartans won two consecutive away meetings earlier in 2015 and SFU will look to exact some revenge over the next two games at the Bill Copeland Arena. With the talent on these two squads, the Valentine’s Day match up promises to be a highflying affair.