On Saturday night, the Selkirk College men's hockey program was dealt their toughest test since their year-long home winning streak began at the Castlegar Recreation Complex in January, 2013. But as they have on many nights this season, the Saints found a key goal when they needed en route to grinding out a 3-2 victory over Simon Fraser University in front of more than 600 fans.
It was packed house at the Castlegar Recreation Complex on Saturday night for the game between the Selkirk College Saints and SFU.
It was a tight game throughout, as Selkirk twice captured leads in the first and second periods only to see SFU respond with a tying marker shortly after.
Just over 10 minutes into regulation, Garrett Kucher pounced on a rebound from a Darnell Dyck shot and fired the puck home to give the Saints an early advantage. But it took less than three minutes for SFU to find an equalizer, as Trevor Milner deflected a puck past Selkirk starter Chris Hurry midway through a Clan power-play.
The goal scoring was condensed once again in the middle frame, as a four-minute spearing penalty to SFU's Trevor Esau quickly led to a go-ahead goal by Saints captain Logan Proulx. But the lead was short-lived, as Jared Eng pinched up late in the remaining two-minute penalty kill and scored with a wrist shot from the slot.
Selkirk Finds Edge in Second Half
Through 30 minutes of play it seemed that neither team had a clear advantage at even strength, but Selkirk began controlling play as the second period wore on and directed a total of 19 shots on SFU netminder Andrew Parent before intermission. And the ice continued to slant in the Saints favour in the third period, with the hosts eventually taking the lead off a Beau Taylor power-play goal with 9:15 remaining.
SFU pressed late and had a number of close calls but were turned away by Hurry.
It was intense action from the opening whistle on Saturday night.
"We came out a little flat in the first period and spent more time in our defensive zone than we're used to," says Saints head coach Jeff Dubois. "But we rebounded well in the second and third periods and made the smart, simple plays that have brought us success in the past. SFU has a lot of size and talent so it's never an easy night when they come into your building, but we got better as the game went along and did enough to win."
Hurry picked up his league-leading 13th win of the season and has now won seven straight starts. Meanwhile, Proulx's second period goal extended his season-long points streak to 22 games.
Alumni Gather to Cheer On Saints
Saturday's game was the second annual Alumni Night. Twelve members of previous Saints teams were in attendance and took part in a pre-game social event.
Flanked by Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff (left) and Selkirk College President Angus Graeme (right), Mal Stelck (middle) takes care of the ceremonial puck drop before Saturday's game.
Before the packed house, a special ceremony at the start of the game introduced the former players -- most of whom played in the 1970s. Selkirk College athletics legend Mal Stelck dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff.
Win Helps Make Case for First Place
Selkirk has turned the tables on SFU since piling up 20 straight losses to the Clan from 2006-2012. Since the beginning of the 2012/13 season, the Saints are 8-1-1 against the three-time league championships. That record includes a 6-0 mark in home games.
There was plenty to cheer about on the ice and in the stands for the Selkirk College Saints.
The win was a crucial one for the Saints in the BCIHL standings, as it moves the team within one point of first place SFU with a game in hand. Selkirk plays its final two regular season games this week -- Thursday at Eastern Washington and Saturday at home to Trinity Western -- and is assured of finishing alone in top spot with a pair of victories. Doing so would also clinch home-ice advantage for the duration of the BCIHL playoffs, which begin March 7.