SFU will be taking on the Trinity Western (TWU) Spartans in a best of three series with games this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Spartans have home ice advantage, with Thursday and Saturday’s game at the Langley Event Center, while SFU’s sole home game comes Friday at 7 p.m.
The Spartans dominated the BCIHL this year — they finished in first place with 36 points and a 17–5–2 record. They also scored the most goals, conceded the fewest, and feature the second- and third-highest ranked players in scoring, Cody Fidgett and PJ Buys. It will be a tough matchup for the Clan, especially in a short best of three series where luck is such an important factor.
“I think we want to make sure we do the right things,” head coach Mike Coletta told The Peak. “Play hard and limit mistakes, like what we did the last two home games against them back three weeks ago, when we outscored them 7–1 in two games. We have to make sure we’re doing those little things to be prepared.”
Going up against the top-ranked offence is a tough challenge, but Coletta is convinced the Clan are up for it.
“You have to be cognisant of who’s on the ice, and make sure you have the right matchup. I think our top three lines can match up with any lines in the league. So I think it’s more important that we know who the right defensemen are. I think [Jesse] Williamson and Mathew Berry-[Lamontagna] did a great job on [Cody] Fidgett, and I know PJ Buys didn’t play last game, so they’ll be up for the challenge and hopefully things work out.”
SFU won their last two games against Trinity Western, and won the season series 4–3. But coach Coletta doesn’t see that as an advantage for his team heading into the series. “I think the playoffs are a totally new can of worms, and I think the regular season gets chucked out the window,” he said.
“There’s a different atmosphere, there’s a different emotion level that comes along with playoff hockey. Although it’s nice to win those games, I don’t think we can rest on those results. We have to make sure that Thursday night is a brand new game.”
One factor SFU may struggle with against the Spartans is special teams. SFU ranks fourth in both power play and penalty kill percentage, while TWU ranks first in both. In the end, special teams could be the deciding factor in the series.