Saints split season opener

The Selkirk College Saints received a “D” for lack of discipline in a two-game set against the University of Victoria Vikings

The Selkirk College Saints opened their B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) season and after an initial “A” for effort, received a “D” for lack of discipline in a two-game set against the University of Victoria Vikings.

The new edition of the Selkirk College squad skated to a 4-2 win Friday at the Caslegar Sports Complex before being doubled up by the Vikes 6-3 on Saturday.

“Friday night we played a pretty sound defensive game and capitalized on our opportunities, where Saturday’s game we were totally undisciplined and took way too many penalties,” said assistant coach and manager Jamie Friess.

The Saints looked great on all accounts after unveiling their new jerseys in Friday’s match up.

In the opening period, Jordan Wood picked up his first of three goals after finishing off a beautiful passing play started by Creston Valley’s Devon Nazaroff and Adam Makaroff from South Slocan. Andrew Green the Saints most recent addition, broke a 1-1 tie in the second by converting a miscue by Vikes goaltender Taylor Pears.

Heading into the third with a 2-1 lead, the Saints could do little wrong and Wood completed the hat trick early in the frame with two goals in a minute and a half. Returning goaltender Spenser Wong had a great outing as he earned the 4-2 win, stopping 35 of 37 shots.

“From where we were a month ago to where we are now, we are improving all the time,” said Friess. “Our goal is to make playoffs this year and I think that is a real achievable goal – this year’s team is way more competitive and exciting than last years team.”

In Saturday’s contest, the second of the double header, the Saints pressured their way to a 2-1 lead before penalties and mental mistakes took over. The Vikes potted three in the second period to take a 4-2 lead into the third.

“You can’t keep using the same guys penalty killing for 40 minutes of a game and expect to win, so I think on Saturday’s game we deserved every penalty we got . . . I was very disappointed with the team and how undisciplined we got.”

The Saints had a glorious opportunity to close the gap early but a failure to score on a five-on-three power play sealed the deal in UVic’s favour.

Selkirk finished sixth last year, with four wins and a tie in 24 games. However, the team has a decisive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and going up against much larger schools like Simon Fraser and Eastern Washington University.

“We are basically a two-year school so sometimes its hard to recruit kids when they want a four-year scholarship . . . it’s going to be tough for anyone,” added Friess.

Currently, seven teams – Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western, Thompson Rivers, Okanagan College, Eastern Washington and the University of Victoria – compete in the BCIHL with a 24-game schedule that is comprised of two, two-game home-and-away series with each competitor. The top four teams from the league’s regular season then face-off in the BCIHL Championships, a round-robin format tournament held each year in March.

The Saints next home game is 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host Okanagan College at the Castlegar Complex.