By: Michael Lenko, Peak Associate
In a hard-fought game with a playoff-like atmosphere at the George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley, SFU goaltender Patrick Zubick turned in what was arguably his best performance of the season to lead the Clan to a much needed 3–2 victory over the Trinity Western University Spartans. On the back of Zubick’s epic performance, the Clan kept their hopes for a first round playoff series at home alive. One of the most complete games for the Clan this year allows the team to claim second place in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) standings with a win over the Vancouver Island University Mariners on the final day of the regular season.
During a heated first period, both teams were ready to play from the drop of the puck. The opening frame saw the physicality pushed to a playoff-like level with tight checking from both teams, limiting scoring chances. While both teams combined for 26 shots in the frame — 16 for SFU and 10 for the Spartans — both goaltenders looked sharp and stopped everything they faced.
The Clan got off to a quick start in the second period as Dominic Masellis opened the scoring with a point shot through traffic less than a minute into the frame. However, the Spartans promptly responded on the powerplay as Evan Last batted a puck out of mid-air to tie the game. The shots remained relatively even through the second as the Spartans outshot the Clan 20–14.
In the third, the SFU powerplay changed the course of the game. On a late-man advantage, Arjun Badh picked up a loose puck in the slot with just over five minutes left in the game and placed a perfect shot over the shoulder of Spartans goaltender Lucas Mills to reestablish the Clan’s one-goal lead. Then, with just under two minutes left in the game, Ty Westgard slammed home a loose puck into a wide-open net off of a rebound opportunity to provide a much needed insurance marker. Westgard’s goal would prove to be vital as Spartan’s forward Logan Casavant scored with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker to bring Trinity Western to within one goal late in the game. However, 3–2 was as close as the Spartan’s would get as Patrick Zubick shut the door the rest of the way, making a phenomenal 46 saves on the night.
With the win, the Clan now control their own destiny when it comes to securing second place in the BCIHL standings and home ice advantage in their first-round playoff matchup. SFU will take on the VIU Mariners in the final game of the BCIHL regular season to determine which team will host the first round playoff series between the two teams.