Winning streak ends at seven as SFU Hockey drops final home game of regular season

After shutting out the Vikes, the Clan fell to the Saints the following night.

Michael Lenko made 21 saves to earn his first shutout of the year. — Photo: SFU Hockey

By: Michael Lenko, Peak Associate

The SFU Hockey team extended its winning streak to seven games on Friday night by defeating the University of Victoria Vikes 3–0. Unfortunately, the Clan were not able to hold off the Selkirk Saints the following night as they fell 5–1 in their final home game of the 2019–20 season. The loss snapped SFU’s season-long seven game winning streak.  

In the Friday night game against the Vikes, the Clan overcame a slow start to dominate the opening period. After giving up four shots in the first few minutes, the Clan clamped down defensively and allowed just two more shots for the remainder of the period while taking 14 of their own. SFU’s strong play over the remainder of the frame was rewarded as Mac Colasimone scored his ninth goal of the year to give the Clan a 1–0 lead heading into the first intermission. 

The second period consisted of more dominating play from the Clan, which culminated in Arjun Badh’s fourth goal of the season to extend the lead to two. 

After carrying the play for most of the night, the Clan weren’t quite as sharp in the third and both teams traded offensive chances. With just 10 minutes to go and the game still close, the Vikes created a grade A scoring chance that SFU starter Michael Lenko stopped with his best save of the night. With just over five minutes left in the game, SFU’s McKullen Astill added an important insurance marker that sealed the win for the Clan to extend their winning streak to seven games. 

The Clan heavily outshot the Vikes 41–21, but still relied on a strong performance from their goaltender to secure the win. Lenko collected his first shutout of the season and the third of his BCIHL career in the win. 

The second home game of the weekend started off with a ceremony to honour the team’s two graduating players, Eric Callegari and Matt Holowko. The two played their last regular season home game at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre knowing that the team had officially clinched a playoff spot with the win the night before.

In contrast to the previous game, the Clan came out firing from the opening puck drop and outshot the Saints 18–12 in the first period. The sustained pressure paid off as Ty Westgard scored on the powerplay to put the Clan up by one. The Saints responded late in the period as Garrett Hilton evened the score heading into the intermission. 

The story of the second period was penalty trouble for the Clan, as the team took six penalties in the frame. The Saints made the Clan pay for their lack of discipline as Edward Lindsey scored twice in the period, putting the visitors up by two. The lack of discipline was evident in the shot totals as well, with the Saints outshooting the Clan 14–3.

Though the pace of play evened out in the third, the Saints sealed the deal with Garrett Hilton’s second of the game and a late tally from Kadrian Klimchuk

While SFU is undoubtedly disappointed to see their win streak end, the extended run of strong play has resulted in the team officially clinching a playoff spot with five games still remaining on their regular season schedule. The focus for the Clan will now turn to building momentum and securing home ice advantage for the first round of the BCIHL playoffs.