With an eye on taking over first place down the stretch, the Saints will play their next four games in the home barns of the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University and Eastern Washington University.
“We are making great progress as a group at this point in the season, and will be putting a lot of focus on the process moving forward,” says Saints head coach Brent Heaven. “This next month will be an important one for our team as we work on building momentum for the playoffs.”
Sporting the team’s retro jersey to mark Selkirk College’s 50th anniversary, Saints defenceman Garrett Halls carries the puck up the ice on Saturday night in a contest against the University of Victoria Vikes. Halls scored the game’s first goal and the Saints went onto a dominant 6-1 victory at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex.
In Saturday night’s win over the Vikes, defenceman Garrett Halls got the offence rolling when he moved in from the point and snapped a shot over the glove hand of UVIC starter Zack Wear five minutes into the game. Midway through the opening 20 minutes, forward Dane Feeney picked up a loose puck behind the net and converted a lightning quick wrap-around to make the score 2-0.
The Vikes registered the first goal of the second period when Shane Kumar beat Selkirk College starter Brett Huber to cut the lead in half seven minutes into the middle frame. But the Saints responded quickly when rookie forward Brady Ward hammered home a shot off the faceoff to regain the two-goal lead. A minute later, Ryan Edwards converted on a nice two-on-one with Wade Johnson to build on the lead, and Troy Maclise added another to make the lead 5-1 after forty minutes. Johnson wrapped up the scoring with three minutes left in the third period to make the final 6-1.
“It was a solid team win,” Heaven says. “Everyone contributed to the test success and defensively we didn’t give Victoria many opportunities which is exactly the kind of all-around effort we need at this point of the season.”
After the weekend action, the Saints remain in third place in the BCIHL standings. With five points separating Selkirk College from first-place Simon Fraser University and two points behind Trinity Western University, the next four road games will be critical for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
“Our goal is to host the playoffs and we will have every opportunity to make that happen in the next couple weeks,” says Heaven.
As the Saints prepare to defend the BCIHL title for the fourth time, they will do it without star forward Dallas Calvin. Last season’s top scorer underwent shoulder surgery last week and is lost for the remainder of this campaign.
“It’s tough to lose any player for the rest of the season and nobody is more disappointed than Dallas,” said Heaven. “He is an important part of our team’s success, but now is the chance for other players to step up and become more regular contributors. Against Victoria we had six different players score and that is what we are going to need with a player like Dallas out of the line-up.”
The Saints don’t play this coming weekend and will hit the road on the February 3 weekend for games against UVIC and Simon Fraser. The team returns home to the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex on the February 24 weekend when they will host the Vikes for a two-game set.