By: Michael Lenko, Peak Associate
Looking to bounce back after losing their first regular season meeting with the Spartans, the SFU Men’s Hockey team fell a goal short in a disappointing 5–4 loss at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
In the second consecutive game between the lower mainland rivals, the Spartans took control in the first and fired 11 shots on net, compared to just five for the Clan. Despite this, the Clan struck first, as Arjun Badh picked up his first career British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) goal by beating Spartan netminder Isaac Labelle just over five minutes into the opening frame. The lead was short lived though, as Josh Bruce tied the game just a few minutes later. The Spartans jumped ahead soon after Bruce’s equalizer on a Dustin Deugau powerplay marker and took a 2–1 lead into the first intermission.
The second period saw the game balance out a bit, with the Spartans outshooting the Clan 14–9. SFU evened the game with three minutes left in the frame on a Kyle Bergh powerplay marker that came on a two-man advantage for the Clan. The teams continued to trade blows, with the Spartans once again pulling in front as Elijah Vilio rushed the puck end to end and scored five hole with just 10 seconds remaining in the frame. Vilio’s tally gave the Spartans another one-goal lead heading into the intermission.
The third period saw an offensive explosion by both teams, as five goals were scored on just 16 total shots. Each team put up eight shots in the frame, and the third was easily the most evenly played period of the game. The Clan tied the game at three while shorthanded on Arjun Badh’s second tally of the game. The back and forth continued though, as the Spartans again reclaimed the lead 30 seconds later on Brandon Potomak’s powerplay marker. The Clan’s shorthanded success continued with Eric Callegari tying the game with just under seven minutes left. The game-winning goal came with less than five minutes left in the game, as Evan Last added to his impressive BCIHL career numbers with another clutch tally. The game offered a wild finish, as the Clan had multiple grade A scoring opportunities in the final minutes of the game, but SFU was unable to tie the contest and the Spartans held on for the win.
While the second consecutive loss against the Spartans is surely hard to swallow for the Clan, the offensive production from the penalty kill was certainly a silver lining. Another positive to be taken from the loss was the dominant play of Clan player Arjun Badh. Picking up the first two goals of his BCIHL career will surely be a major confidence boost to the second year forward. Ideally for the Clan, Badh will begin to produce more consistently and can start to provide some secondary scoring to ease the pressure on the top lines.
After a brief home stand, the team will embark on an equally brief road trip on the following weekend. Following their first visit to Vancouver Island of the season, the Clan will return home to face the University of Victoria Vikes on November 16.