SFU Hockey fall short at the BCIHL finals

Image courtesy of SFU Hockey


Image courtesy of SFU Hockey
Image courtesy of SFU Hockey

SFU has ended its regular season with a pair of losses on Friday and Saturday to the Selkirk College Saints at the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) finals. The losses provided the Saints with their third straight BCIHL championship, and third straight sweep for the title.

The Clan entered the series with a 3–2 regular season record against the Saints.

“It was one of those situations where we were a little bit overanxious,” said SFU head coach Mark Coletta. “We had a handful of guys who played good, and then a handful of guys who just played uptight, and a little bit too nervous.”

The Clan were downed in the first game by a hat trick by Selkirk forward Ryan Edwards, who led the BCIHL playoffs in goals with six. SFU lost 3–1, despite what coach Coletta described as SFU’s most dominant stretch of hockey over the weekend in the third period. However, the Clan were badly outshot 33–15. Forward Graham Smerek had SFU’s lone goal.

SFU went into Saturday’s game hoping to extend their playoff series to three. Just under two minutes into the game, SFU defenceman Jesse Williamson took a high sticking penalty. The penalty was just about killed, when with one second left on the powerplay, Selkirk forward Thomas Hardy opened up scoring to give the Saints the early lead.

Although that was the end of the scoring in the first period, it was not the end of SFU’s woes. Forward Michael Sandor was assessed a ten-minute misconduct penalty for a hit to the head. Though he came back without incident when his 10 minutes were up, defenceman Tyler Mah was ejected from the game just a few minutes later for a hit from behind — a significant loss for the team’s blueline.

A point shot by defenceman Jared Eng tied the game for SFU. The team would control much of the second period’s play as well, outshooting Selkirk 12–10 in the period.

Two goals 30 seconds apart by the Saints near the end of the period proved a crushing blow to the Clan, and as it turned out that was all Selkirk needed to win. End of second, 3–1.

SFU pulled their goalie at the end of the third to try and claw their way back into the game, but the result was an empty netter for Selkirk.

With 20 seconds left, SFU forward and first-round hero Adam Callegari, who ended the playoffs with four goals, managed another goal for the team. But by then, it was too late — Selkirk were crowned the BCIHL champions with a 4–2 victory.

With the victory, Selkirk College became the first team in BCIHL history to win three straight championships, and are now tied with SFU and the University of Victoria for the most BCIHL championships at three.

“Overall, you can look at it as an average season for us,” coach Coletta reflected. “Your expectations are winning a championship, and if you don’t win, it’s a failure in my opinion.

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out how we win that championship.”

The 4–2 loss marked the final game in an SFU jersey for Mah, Eng, Jono Ceci, Taylor Piller, Trent Murdoch, and goalie Andrew Parent.

“Our seniors did a great job for the past four years, [but they] just couldn’t get over that hump for whatever reason,” noted Coletta.

However, he remains optimistic about the team’s future.

“I think we’ve got a good core of young guys coming back, we have a great recruiting class coming in, so I think there’s some big, big things coming up in the future, especially next year.”

Playoff Round 2, Game 2

SFU: 2
SC: 4

First Period:
SC (PPG) Thomas Hardy (2) (Vlanich, Postmus) 16:26

Second Period:
SFU Jared Eng (3) (Smerek, Piller) 16:06
SC Jamie Vlanich (2) (Hildebrand) 4:42
SC Ryan Edwards (6) (Dyck) 3:12

Third Period:
SC (EN) Ryan Procyshyn (1) (Spear) 0:46
SFU Adam Callegari (4) (N Sandor, Jang) 0:20

SFU 25
SC 28

Jordan Liem (SFU): 24 Saves/ 27 Shots .889 SV%
James Prigione (SC): 23 Saves/ 25 Shots .920 SV%

Three stars:
1st: SC #71, Jamie Vlanich 1G, 1A
2nd: SC #29, James Prigione 23 Saves, .920 SV%
3rd: SC #19, Thomas Hardy 1G, 0A