The SFU Men’s Hockey Team begins preseason action tomorrow with a match-up against the UBC Thunderbirds. Despite playing in different leagues — UBC plays in the CIS — the two crosstown rivals have played each year since 2011.
SFU’s leading goal scorers — Tyler Basham, Brandon Tidy, and Michael Sandor — all return for the 2016/17 season, and are bolstered by new additions including forward Daniell Lange, who put up 30 goals for the Kindersley Klippers of the SJHL last season, and NCAA Division I transfer Scott Patterson.
Defenceman Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, who led the BCIHL in goals scored as a defenceman, will return as a veteran presence on a young and mobile blueline.
“We’ve got a quality team coming back, we’ve got a bunch of quality recruits coming in,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “We’re bringing in some big size on the back end, we’ve got a couple of really crafty and shifty forwards coming up.”
The Clan look to avenge a 6-0 loss against UBC last year. UBC features a roster heavy in ex-WHL talent, including new additions Carter Popoff, an alumnus of the Vancouver Giants, and the 2015/16 captain of the Seattle Thunderbirds, Jerret Smith. Popoff, a centre, put up 179 points over four seasons with the Giants, while Smith put up 118 points as a defenceman in 281 games with the WHL Thunderbirds.
“I’m looking for the compete level, seeing what kind of knowledge our guys have, how they play without the puck,” said Coletta. “UBC’s going to be a quality team.”
Puck drop is at 4:30 pm at the Father David Bauer Arena at the UBC Point Grey Campus.