It all came down to the final game for first place in the BCIHL. SFU just needed a point in any scenario to clinch first — for Trinity Western, only a regulation win would do.
With two goals from Daniell Lange, and strong play from Adam Callegari and Brendan Lamont, the Clan was able to come away with first place in the BCIHL — and with it, home ice advantage throughout the upcoming playoffs.
“I thought we bounced back and played a good game,” said head coach Mark Coletta after the game. “We rolled four lines and six [defencemen]; everyone was intense.”
With so much to play for, the game certainly had an intense, playoff vibe throughout. The first real chance went to Trinity Western. The league’s leading scorer, Evan Last, was awarded a penalty shot, but his backhand shot went wide of the net. Just a couple of minutes later, Daniell Lange tipped home a low Nick Coltura shot to eventually give SFU a 1–0 lead at the end of the first.
The second didn’t feature any scoring from either team, but had a number of great saves from Spartans goaltender Silas Matthys. Many of them were of the spectacular variety, and he certainly kept his team in it heading into the third.
At the beginning of the third was, perhaps, the turning point of the game. Evan Last was once again one-on-one with SFU goalie Jordan Liem — this time from open play. He appeared to have Liem beat, but his shot went over the net. About a minute later, Darnel St. Pierre buried a puck from the high slot to score his second of the the season.
What could have been a 1–1 game was suddenly 2–0. And with Trinity Western having to win in regulation, it was more of a three-goal hole than two. Daniell Lange scored his second of the game before Stefan Gonzales scored on the powerplay to make it a 3–1 final.
The Clan was undoubtedly boosted by the return of two of their top scorers in Adam Callegari and Brendan Lamont. Scratches in the game before due to an internal matter, which SFU lost 3–1, Callegari and Lamont were able to generate scoring chances nearly every time they were on the ice.
“They possess the puck well, they can beat you down the ice, they can get you wide, and they can beat you with the skill game,” said Coletta on what makes them such dangerous offensive weapons. “They’re just really good. They’re not the biggest guys, but Callegari brings that element of puck protection, Lamont brings grit and speed.”
The game also was the team’s annual seniors night. Two outgoing players were honoured before the game; Jesse Mysiorek and Mike Sandor.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” said Sandor afterwards, on his last regular season game at Bill Copeland. “Four years goes by a lot quicker than you think it would. We still have playoffs, so it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it’s really nice to get the win and finish off like that.”
Next Game: With the regular season completed, SFU will now turn its attention to the post-season. They’ll be playing the University of Victoria in the first round, a team SFU was 5–0–1 against in the regular season.
“I think the key is just to play our game,” said Sandor on what needs to be done to advance against UVic. “We went into UVic two weeks ago and we didn’t bend or break. They came out pretty strong and they have a few good players that can hurt you.
“But our strength is our depth. If we just stick to our game, and we don’t power down and let them take anything from us, I think we’ve got it.”
Game one will be in Victoria this Friday at 7 p.m. Game two will be at Bill Copeland Saturday at 7 p.m., with game three, if necessary, Sunday at 4:30 p.m.