By: Dylan Webb
The Simon Fraser University hockey team lost to the Selkirk Saints on the opening night of the 2018–19 BCIHL season by a score of 7–1. The Saints’ offensive explosion began early with two goals in the first period from Dylan Heppler and Nolan Percival, and the Saints never looked back. The Clan are now 0–1 on the season.
Taking the 2–0 lead into the second period, the Saints promptly doubled their lead to 4–0 with goals from Parker Wakaruk and Edward Lindsay. SFU was held off the scoresheet until late in the third period despite outshooting the Saints.
In the third, the Saints sealed the win and chased Clan goaltender Michael Lenko from the game with three more tallies early in the frame. The home team rode the 7–1 lead to victory, making an unquestionable opening-night statement against one of their main rivals.
The three stars of the game were unsurprisingly all Saints. One silver lining for the Clan was having outshot the Saints by a margin of 40–28 by the end of the game despite the dominance displayed by the Saints on the score sheet. The team will need to carry positives such as this into the second game of the weekend if they hope to earn a split on their Castlegar road trip.
In goal, newly recruited netminder Michael Lenko allowed seven goals on 22 shots before being pulled early in the third period and replaced by goaltender Ryan Sandrin, who stopped all six shots he faced in the remainder of the game.
Asked for an assessment of what the team needs to improve in order to win their next game, Sandrin feels that “the most important thing for us will be staying cohesive as a unit. We have a lot of skill and the chances will come when we are patient and stick to our systems. It’s really a matter of us going back to basics for [Saturday].”
With the loss on Friday, Simon Fraser are now left with one more chance this season to earn a win in the Saints’ challenging home arena as the teams complete the first two of their five-game season series. The remaining three matchups are all to be played at Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby.
Following the second game in Castlegar on Saturday night, the team will head home to prepare for their home opener the following weekend against the defending league champions, the Trinity Western University Spartans, on Saturday, October 13.
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