It’s a well-established fact that UBC and SFU have a long-running rivalry, and for years students anxiously awaited those fall days when the two schools would face off on the gridiron. The annual Shrum Bowl was the biggest, and best, hate-breeding event of each school year, and it gave students of the winning side the ultimate bragging rights — at least for a year.
Sadly, with SFU’s transition into the NCAA ranks, the two sides were unable to meet in one of the most beloved events of the year. So, without the Shrum Bowl, attention had to be shifted elsewhere.
Enter the 2012 University Hockey Classic. The two-game mini-series between the two bitter provincial rivals was eventually won by SFU, but it wouldn’t be a game between UBC and SFU if there wasn’t a little drama along the way.
The Clan opened the series on the road, but came out of Thunderbird Arena with a 3–1 win. UBC actually took the early lead just three minutes into the contest, but two goals from the Clan before the period would be all they needed. UBC didn’t go down without a fight, however, as they fired 43 shots on the SFU net. A second-period goal from Kyle Boyko and a 42-save performance from Clan goaltender Evan Kurylo would eventually seal the victory for SFU. Kurylo, fittingly, earned first-star honours for his efforts.
After outshooting the Clan by nearly a 2–1 margin, UBC may have deserved a better outcome than what they got. But SFU scored when they needed to and some clutch goaltending put them in the driver’s seat heading into the tournament’s second game.
“We came out tentative and paid for it early,” said SFU head coach Mark Coletta, “but we took advantage of our chances. Evan Kurylo came up big when we needed him and put together an outstanding game.
“We know that UBC is going to come out hard tomorrow night and try to get one back,” added Coletta. The Thunderbirds would have to, if they wished to come out of the series as victors — a loss or a tie meant a win for SFU.
The Clan returned home to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre with a title on the line, and a crowd in the stands. Over 1500 fans filled the seats, and with a little excitement along the way, most went home quite happy.
UBC actually won the game by the same score SFU had one by the night before, meaning the two teams needed extra time to seal the deal. Overtime itself settled nothing, meaning the winner would be determined by a shootout. Love it or hate it, the shootout is never short on heart-stopping moments.
SFU’s Billy Smith opened the scoring in the shootout, and the goal held up until UBC’s Max Grassi forced an extra round with a critical goal in the third round. A goal from Jono Ceci put SFU ahead once more, and a miss from Thunderbird Michael Wilgosh ended the game, and the series. Finally, the crowd could breathe again, and not a moment too soon before celebrating the SFU victory.
“This was a tremendous event,” said Coletta. “The fan support . . . has been outstanding.
“Winning the event was a great end to a fun couple of days.”
Fun it was. If it stays that way, well, SFU and UBC could very well have a new setting for their spirited rivalry.