By: Michael Lenko, Peak Associate
After losing a low-scoring battle in the first game of their road trip, the SFU Hockey team responded the following night with an offensive outburst led by Takato Cox. With the single win, the Clan took two of four points from their last trip of the regular season to Castlegar. The Clan now sits just two points ahead of the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners for second place in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) standings and have also played one more game than the Mariners.
Weary from a seven-hour bus ride deep into the interior to face the Selkirk Saints in Castlegar, the Clan showed no signs of “bus legs” early in the first game of the weekend. SFU fired an impressive 18 shots on the Saints’ net, while only giving up four in a dominant first period. The period did not bear fruit for the Clan, though, and the score remained 0–0 heading into the intermission.
In the second period, the Saints evened the pace of play and got on the board halfway through the frame, courtesy of a Dylan Heppler goal. The Clan’s McKullen Astill responded with a goal of his own with less than one minute remaining to even the score heading into the second intermission.
After a tightly contested opening 40 minutes, Selkirk’s Jack Karran took over the game in the third period. Karran scored his first of the period less than a minute into the frame, and after the two teams played tight, defensive hockey for most of the period, Karran added his second with one minute left in the game. Seconds later, Karran finished off his hat-trick with an empty netter to cap off a career night for himself and an important win for the Saints.
Despite heavily outshooting the Saints 44–26 in the first game of the weekend, the Clan found themselves on the wrong side of huge individual performances from Karran and Saints goaltender Tallon Kramer.
In the second game of the trip, the Clan didn’t wait long to initiate their offensive outburst. A powerplay goal by Eric Callegari and the first of the night from Takato Cox gave SFU a quick 2–0 lead. The Clan was dominant in the first period for the second straight night as they outshot the Saints 18–7.
The second period consisted of wild, back-and-forth action that surely gave both coaches a headache, as the teams scored a combined seven goals in the frame. The Saints opened the period with goals from Dylan Heppler and Garrett Hilton, and the Clan quickly responded with two of their own from Mathieu Jallabert and Takato Cox — Cox’s second of the game. Just a few minutes later, the Saints once again scored two consecutive goals, which tied the game at four. The final blow of the frame was struck just seven seconds before the buzzer to end the period, as the Clan took the lead on Jallabert’s second of the night.
In a third period that saw both teams tighten up defensively, the Clan was able to nullify the Saints’ offense. This allowed Cox to finish off the first hat-trick of his BCIHL career into an empty net with just 15 seconds left. Andrew Henderson was strong between the pipes for the Clan and picked up the fifth win of his rookie season.
With a bye week looming before the team plays its final three games of the regular season on the road, it appears increasingly likely that the result of SFU’s final game of the season against the VIU Mariners on March 7 will determine playoff seedings and home ice advantage for both teams. Either way, it’s shaping up to be an exciting conclusion to the 2019–20 BCIHL regular season.