BURNABY, BC — The SFU Men’s Hockey Team enter the semester break in third place and firmly in a BCIHL playoff spot. But with two losses to end the season and without a regulation win since November 11th, there’s certainly room for improvement for the young team.
“We had some ups and downs. We went on a good roll in November until the end there when we got some injuries,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “We still have 14 games.”
SFU started the season 5-2, culminating with a 8-1 victory over Vancouver Island on the road on November 1th. However, since then, SFU has gone 1-3, with their only victory in that time a 3-2 overtime win against Selkirk College.
“[We need] to be consistent on a daily basis. I think the main thing for us is to be consistent during the week. One good practice, one bad practice, not good enough. That translates into the weekend,” explained Coletta.
The Clan have had to play much of the last bit of the semester shorthanded. Brandon Tidy missed time with an injury and had to play defenceman for a number of games. Eric Callegari, who in his rookie season has become a dynamic offensive threat, missed two games with illness. Defenceman Austin Adam missed the last three games of the season, and Jaret Babych hasn’t played since November 11th.
But the team is expected to be a lot healthier in the second half. Adam is expected to return to the lineup. Tidy is expected to be at 100% in the New Year. Babych is hopeful for the opening weekend.
While SFU lays claim to the second-most power play goals in the league with 10, it’s an area they need to be more consistent in. They were held without a goal on the man advantage in five games.
“Whether it’s the PK or the power play, you’ve got to be able to outwork the other team. Just because you have an extra man or you’re down a man, doesn’t mean you stop working and take things for granted,” noted Coletta. “Consistency is the same thing whether we’re five-on-five or on the power play.”
One area of strength for SFU has been the defensive core, even when battling injuries. Mathew Berry-Lamontagna is second in team scoring with 10 points. Adam has proven an effective puck mover in his first year in the BCIHL, with five points in eight games.
U Sports transfer Mac Colasimone has made an impression in his first semester in the league, putting up 10 points in nine games.
SFU will need to put up some big games to start off the New Year, with the semester beginning with a road trip to the Island to take on UVic and VIU on January 5th and 6th.
VIU sits tied in points with SFU with 12 points each. The Clan have a game in hand, but will need to pull out some wins to stay in third place and make some ground on Selkirk and Trinity Western, who sit at one and two.
“I’ve always thought that we have really good team speed as a 20 man unit. We’re going to have to utilize that team speed. Our systems are little lacklustre at some points in games, I think our d-zone coverage is one of those systems that have got to be way better,” said Coletta. “We’ve definitely got the personnel to play that aggressive style.
“Especially starting the semester on the road, we’ve got to do a bang up job making sure we dictate the pace [of play].”
The weekend after, SFU plays VIU again, this time at home. This game is the rescheduled SFU-VIU game and will take place on January 12th at 8 pm.