Midway through their game against the Trinity Western Spartans on Thursday night, the Clan were up 1–0; the same score, against the same team, in the same building as the previous week. And just like that game, they wound up losing — this time, by score of 5–3.
Facing the Spartans in their home rink, the Langley Event Center, it was really a case of deja vu for SFU’s men’s hockey team. Though heavily outshooting the competition — by margin of 44–29 — the Clan just could not find the back of the net enough.
“I thought we played well,” said head coach Mark Coletta. “I mean, anytime you get 44 shots on net, you should get a better result. But our penalty kill wasn’t the best tonight, and they capitalized on special teams.”
Trinity Western went two for four on the power play, and SFU had a hard time clearing the puck out of their zone.
Clan forward Tyler Basham opened up the scoring just over a minute into the second period.
The Spartans, however, responded with two goals of their own less than 30 seconds between each other to take the lead — the first on a power play. And with under two minutes left in the second, they extended their lead to 3–1.
Perhaps a growing dislike of each other from playing each other two weeks in a row led to SFU’s first fight of the regular season. Spartan defenceman Jacob Mills appeared to have the upper hand in the tussle with Clan forward Saylor Preston.
The Clan brought the game within one point with a buzzer-beater at the end of the second, with a shot from Basham going in just as the Spartan goalie began to make his way to the bench.
But this positive momentum did not last long. SFU took a tripping penalty 45 seconds into the second period, and the Spartans took no time scoring their fourth point — the game-winner — with a mere 13 seconds left.
In a last-ditch effort to make a comeback, the Clan pulled goalie Andrew Parent with 2:40 left in the game. The effort was fruitless, though, as the team was unable to muster up much zone time. Defenceman Matthew Berry-Lamontagna made some nifty saves to keep the Spartans to five goals.
“I thought we outplayed them again,” concluded coach Coletta, “but sometimes you get some bad breaks before you get the wins and this is what we’re dealing with now.”