Last weekend was the start of the BCIHL playoffs, and SFU took on Trinity Western University. The teams had played some heated games over the season, and this series was no exception. However, the Clan lost the first two games of this best of three series — the second one in overtime — marking an early end to the season for the team.
The first game at SFU’s home rink, at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre, started off with a flurry of goals. Cody Stephenson and Ryan Bakken scored for Trinity, while Brendan Lamont and Mathew Berry-Lamontagna scored for the Clan.
However, Trinity scored two unanswered in the second, with Florian Niedermaier and Mattias Schmidt shorthanded gave the visitors a commanding 4–2 lead. SFU did try to stage a comeback with Lamont’s second early in the third. But it was too little too late as Jacob Mills made it 5–3 for the visitors, before they added an empty net to make it 6–3.
This meant the second game the next night out at the George Preston centre was do or die for SFU. They needed a win to keep their season alive and send the series to a third game back in Burnaby. They got off to a better start, with Tyler Basham and Adam Callegari scoring for SFU to give them a 2–1 lead after one. Basham scored again early in the second to make it 3–1, but Trinity Western came storming back — goals from Niedermaier and Kaleb Denham tied it at three. Callegari added another late in the period to give SFU the lead, heading into the third, before Jamie Russell knotted things up to send it to overtime.
That’s when the heartbreak happened. Despite SFU controlling most of the play during the extra frame, Trinity Western forward and Burnaby native Matthew Vela scored after an SFU defensive zone draw.
“You never like to be in this situation, but the best you can do is to keep your head up, [we] played a hell of a game,” said SFU Head Coach Mark Coletta afterwards. “At the end of the day, the guys coming back next year have to take this and use this as motivation and be the best they can throughout the summer and coming into camp.
“You don’t want to feel this every year, and so until the group coming back understands that it’s not just a monthly thing, it’s a process, it’s a yearly thing, it starts tomorrow — next year.”
The goal marked a tough end to the season for SFU, with five of their past six games ending in a loss.