SFU blows third-period lead to Selkirk College in home opener

SFU is now 2-1 on the year.

It was a game that SFU hockey probably should have won.

After SFU scored to make it 2–0, it looked like the team was on pace for a solid win in the home opener. However, five straight goals from Selkirk, with their first two on the power play, meant the Saints took the two points and ended SFU’s perfect start to the season.

“We had a 2–0 lead, and we gave it away,” said head coach Mark Coletta after the game. “Penalties cost us, and I think the emotion level wasn’t where it needed to be.”

Early in the game, SFU was dominating, and was unfortunate not to be more than 1–0 up after a quick goal early in the first. Selkirk looked slow in the first and second periods; a product of playing the night before, and the team’s 0–2 start to the year. And when Graham Smerek scored early in the third to make it a two goal, it looked like the game was over and done with.

However, Selkirk is the four-time defending British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) champion for a reason. They won’t go down without a fight.

Just a few minutes later, SFU got into penalty trouble. Selkirk got a five on three, scored, then scored on the resulting five on four to tie it up. They added two more before getting an empty net goal to make it 5–2.

“You can’t give up penalties and expect to win in this league,” said Coletta on the third-period breakdown. “They got four power play goals, and it is what it is [. . .] We just didn’t find a way to put them away.”

Now it’s about refocusing. The season is still young: SFU still has 21 games to play before the regular season wraps up on March 4. However, this loss is a bit concerning considering past events with this team. In the final game of last regular season, SFU gave up a two-goal lead against the University of Victoria in the third, losing the game in overtime. The next week, they ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs to Trinity Western in two straight games, as BCIHL playoff series are best of three. Putting this loss behind them is key to getting results going forward.

“I think it’s the leadership,” said Coletta on what needs to improve. “The older guys in the room have to make sure they’re better, and that they’re better with the younger kids and making sure they’re holding their own. So it’s one of those things where the group within has to find a way to make themselves better, and then we have to be on top of them.”