The Simon Fraser University Clan hosted the first place Trinity Western Spartans at Bill Copeland Arena Saturday night for what turned out to be a highly entertaining 5-4 shootout victory for the home team. The Clan was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Burnaby Minor Hockey and the packed house went home thoroughly entertained.
SFU forward Trent Murdoch mentioned on the Inside the BCIHL podcast during the week leading up to the contest that the Clan needed to get off to a fast start. Things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Selkirk College transfer and TWU leading scorer Cody Fidgett got the visitors on the board first with a wicked wrister after linemate P.J. Buys found him all alone in front. SFU had a pretty successful first period, however, as the Burnaby squad outshot TWU 11-6, but were just unable to best Spartan netminder Silas Matthys.
SFU’s most successful period all season has been the second and that trend continued Saturday night. The Clan’s top line of Nick Sandor, Jono Ceci, and Adam Callegari combined for three goals in the frame. Each player scored a goal a piece, with the prettiest being Ceci’s. The shift that led up to Ceci’s goal should have been called the Jono Ceci show because the talented forward stickhandled his way to the front of the net through a myriad of traffic and eventually fired the puck past Matthys to cap off the pretty play. TWU’s Dawson Sawatzy answered back for the Spartans in the second, but SFU headed to the third with a 3-2 lead.
The Clan was 6-0 when leading after two periods before Saturday’s night contest and, although faced with some adversity, they were able to continue the success. Matthew Berry-Lamontagna, who has been a great first year edition on the blue line, opened the scoring in the frame, finishing off a crisp cross-ice pass from Murdoch. SFU, however, did suffer two, albeit short, mental lapses in the defensive zone in the third. First Cody Fidgett scored off a quick shot from a faceoff and then P.J. Buys, on a hotly contested and controversial icing call that went against SFU, beat Andrew Parent in close while the Spartan was all alone in front.
The two Spartan goals soured an overall solid game from the Clan and sent the contest into overtime. While the overtime period didn’t settle things, the frame did offer some high flying, back and forth action with chances at either end.
Without a solution in the extra frame the two teams entered their second shootout in the three games played against each other so far this season. Ceci scored the only goal of the shootout as he faked his signature glove side wrister and pulled the puck backhand to best Matthys. Parent stopped all three shooters he faced and gave the Clan a much-deserved victory.
SFU plays host to the Eastern Washington University Eagles next Saturday in the final game before the Christmas break. After such an important win against TWU, SFU will look to string together some wins that will launch them into the second half of the season with well-earned momentum.