By: Michael Lenko, Peak Associate
As the second half of their season opens up, the SFU Hockey team will look to build momentum from a two-game sweep of the Selkirk Saints as they strive to attain their pre-season goal: a British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) championship. The first half of the season was mediocre for the Clan, as the team posted a 6-5-0-2 record that has them sitting in third place in the league standings. As the playoff race heats up, the Clan will, at least, be looking to catch the Vancouver Island University Mariners for second place. This would ensure they will have at least one series of playoff hockey at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in 2020.
To climb into second place in the BCIHL standings, the Clan will have to continue to rely on their top two lines to maintain their elite offensive output. The current top five point scorers for the Clan play on either of the top two lines and have accounted for 26 of the 45 goals the team has scored so far this season. Mitch Ledyard tops the Clan in goals midway through the season with seven, and fourth year forward Mac Colasimone holds the team lead in points with 17.
The Clan has also benefited from strong play in net this season, having allowed the second fewest goals in the league, behind only the undefeated, league-leading Trinity Western University Spartans. Andrew Henderson leads the team in save percentage and goals against average, and is tied for the team lead in wins with Patrick Zubick. Henderson’s strong play also has him ranked second in the entire league in both save percentage and goals-against average.
With all of these positive individual achievements so far, the Clan is likely disappointed to be sitting in third place in the BCIHL standings at the halfway mark of the season. The loss of two overtime games, and a couple of close games against the Vancouver Island University Mariners, have made the difference between second and third place for the Clan thus far.
To improve upon their mediocre first half, the Clan will primarily look to add more secondary scoring. Second year forward Cole Plotnikoff will look to shake off a slow first half in point production to return to the near point per game pace he set in his freshman season. Another returning forward poised for a strong second half is second year player Arjun Badh. He has already surpassed his point total from last season, and will continue to be relied on for depth scoring. Another player poised for a second half breakout is freshman forward Takato Cox.
In his first year on the team, Cox has provided a valuable offensive threat despite his depth role in the Clan forward group. According to Director of Player Experience and Education Ryan Sandrin, consistency will also be a key factor if the team is to find more success in the second half. “We need to play a full sixty, strengthen on-ice communication, and not get complacent with our systems and execution,” he said when asked by The Peak about possible areas of improvement for the second half.
The Clan will also have two incoming players make their BCIHL debuts this coming semester. Forwards Jacob Lacasse and Mateo Coltellaro will be joining the Clan for the playoff push. Lacasse brings a wealth of junior A and B experience to the team, and can hopefully add toughness and grit to the bottom six of the forward group. Coltellaro brings three years of Junior experience to the team, and is known for having a hard shot that should bring more depth scoring to the lineup.
As winter shifts to spring and the BCIHL playoff drive heats up, look for the Clan to continue playing to their strengths while making some minor adjustments to their forward group. The team begins its pursuit of a home playoff series at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre, and, ultimately, a BCIHL Championship, this Friday, January 10, at home against the UVIC Vikes. Puck drop is 7 p.m.