Photo Credit: Garrett James
The SFU Men’s Hockey Team will close out the regular season with back-to-back home games Friday and Saturday against the Trinity Western Spartans.
“It’s a rivalry game, they’re our big rivals the last couple of years in the playoffs,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “You don’t want to go limping into the playoffs, you want to go striding along as we have the last month.”
SFU, coming off six consecutive wins and seven games with a point, will look to keep the momentum rolling going into the playoffs. In the previous three seasons, SFU has faced Trinity Western in the first round of the playoffs, and with neither team able to finish lower than second, it will mark the first season since 2012/13 that the two teams won’t meet in the first round.
With 36 points, SFU has built a comfortable cushion for first place. Trinity Western, at 32 points, would have to win both games in regulation to force a tie for first place. One point, however, would guarantee SFU first place and home ice throughout the playoffs.
The Clan lead the league in goal differential with +54, with a 24-goal lead over second place Trinity Western. The Clan lead the league offensively with 4.55 goals per game. SFU has four players in the Top 10 of BCIHL scoring — Adam Callegari, Scott Patterson, Brendan Lamont, and Graham Smerek — while Mathew Berry-Lamontagna sits at 15th, the second-best defenceman.
Callegari and Smerek both have three goals in their last two games.
“We don’t handcuff them on the offensive side of the puck, if they’re doing good things and not turning the puck over,” said Coletta.
SFU also allows the second-least amount of goals, allowing only 2.09 goals per game. Only Trinity Western allows less, allowing 1.95 goals per game.
Trinity Western has four consecutive wins, and five consecutive games with a point. Their last regulation loss was a 2-0 shutout result at the Langley Events Centre against SFU.
Since coming back from injury, Spartan rookie sensation Jarrett Fontaine has been on fire, putting up three goals and six points in five games played in 2017. However, he did not play in Trinity Western’s most recent game on February 25. Their other high flying freshman, Evan Last, came back after a three-game absence on the 25th and put up a goal and an assist. Fontaine sits at second in BCIHL scoring, while Last is in fourth.
At Friday night’s game, there will be a silent auction with 100% of proceeds also going to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC), as well as a 20 sq/ft SFU Hockey arena built entirely out of Lego with viewing by donation to the DEWC. As well, at all remaining home games SFU Hockey will donate the money raised through 50/50 sales to the DEWC. The SFU recreation department will also be on hand with face painting and other activities for attendees.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for children under 6 or for SFU students with valid ID. The game will also be streamed live on HockeyTV. Puck drop is at 7 pm for both games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Graham Smerek — SFU
(7G, 14A, 21GP) (2015/16: 3G, 6A, 13GP)
Always a dependable two-way player and more than capable on the faceoff dot, Smerek has really found his offensive touch this season, breaking point and goal-total bests he established in his first season with the team. He has multi-point games in both of his last two games, and three goals in that span.
Jacob Mills — TWU
(4G, 9A, 20GP) (2015/16: 1G, 13A, 22GP)
The former Grandview Steelers defenceman plays with a bit of grit of in his game, racking up 52 penalty minutes so far this season. However, as of late, his offensive abilities have gone noticed. With four goals and six points in his last four games — including his first career hattrick on Friday’s 5-1 victory over Eastern Washington — Mills is a threat to be reckoned with.