The annual SFU vs. UBC hockey game has become sort of a tradition, albeit a very one-sided one. Going back to January 2012, SFU had lost seven straight against the Thunderbirds, the last two being 6–0 defeats. On September 10, the result was more of the same, as SFU lost 3–1 to UBC. Unlike last year though, the Clan looked competitive throughout most of the match, and had their chances to make things interesting later on in the game.
“Anytime you lose it’s disappointing, 100 percent,” said head coach Mark Coletta afterwards. “We know that, we take that to heart. [. . .] The effort level and the compete level is what we were looking for, [because] it’s the first game of the year, [and] it’s a process. We’ve got six and a half, seven months to get there. I’m happy with the way they played.”
The game started off as a back-and-forth affair, with both teams creating chances. SFU in particular was holding their own, which included a great cycle by Jesse Mysiorek’s line for some SFU offensive zone time. Later on in the period, SFU would get on the board first. On the powerplay, new recruit Scott Patterson, a Division I transfer, tipped a slap pass from Brandon Tidy to give SFU a 1–0 lead. However, that lead was short-lived, as UBC would equalize off an extended five on three.
The next period was marked by two more UBC goals, both in the second period. The first was off a turnover that squeaked right in front of the net, where the UBC player buried it top shelf. The other was a lucky goal that deflected off an SFU skate in front. It also saw a goaltending change halfway through the period, as Jordan Liem came in for the starting Lyndon Stanwood. The goaltender split will happen once again in their next exhibition game on September 24 against Trinity Western, according to Coletta.
It was billed as a preseason game, but it sure didn’t feel like one. The entire game was defined by the physical play by both teams. All the players were determined to finish their checks, and many penalties were handed out from scrums after play had ended.
“I think it’s just an inherent rivalry,” said Coletta on the emotions of the night. “I think UBC [is] probably known as one of the best schools in Canada, and SFU is right there behind them. We want to make sure we’re not giving anything up and we’re working hard to prove to them that we can play against them. There’s a respect factor, but we’re not going to lay over and play dead for them.”
One also has to wonder if a win would have been possible for the Clan if they had been healthy on the blue line. Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, Dustin Cave, and Robson Cramer all sat out the game due to injuries. Thus, players like Brandon Tidy, normally a forward, had to fill in on defence.
“He [did] well,” said Colleta on Tidy’s play. “We knew he played a little bit of defence last year when we were short-staffed. [. . .] It was a makeshift defence core against a very good CIS team full of WHL guys.”
The team will now have a bit of a break before their next game against Trinity Western on September 24.