The Selkirk College Saints concluded the first semester of the BCIHL season on the road with a split decision on the weekend.
Selkirk beat the University of Victoria Vikes 3-2 on Friday night and then dropped a 6-4 decision to the upstart Vancouver Island University Mariners on Saturday. After starting the regular season with a blistering 10-0 record, the Saints went 1-2- 0-1 in their last four games, but are still atop the BCIHL standings
“There are very good hockey teams in this league,” says Saints head coach Brent Heaven. “When you get into games where you’re not willing to play a disciplined game and a team-first game for the 60 minutes, it can cost you. We took some bad penalties in the second period of that Vancouver Island University game and it ended up costing us in the end. But it’s a good learning experience.”
In the weekend opener against the University of Victoria, the Saints shook off the bus-legs early when Brayden McCartney gave the visitors a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the game. Victoria then stormed back with a couple of goals that were created on Selkirk College miscues. The Saints out-shot the Vikes 21-5 in the second period, but were unable to beat UVIC goaltender Michael Fredrick.
Saints captain Dallas Calvin finally solved Fredrick midway through the third period to tie the game at 2-2 and then set up the game winner by Brandon Sookro with just over two minutes left in the game to secure a victory.
On Saturday night in Nanaimo, it was the Mariners who scored first when Garrett Dunlop beat Selkirk College starter Patrick Zubick. Though Saints forward Jack Mills answered shortly after, by the end of the middle frame Vancouver Island University had built a 5-2 lead.
The Saints were close to staging another comeback after Seth Schmidt and Mills scored late in the third period, but an empty-net goal by former Saints forward Alex Milligan put a halt on any hopes for a win.
“When you are riding a high like we were at the start of the season, everybody is feeling extremely confident,” says Heaven. “But when you get into adversity, it provides a test. Every game that we have lost has essentially been a one-goal game. We had an opportunity to win every one of those games, but it comes down to playing it the right way.”
Despite the recent stumble, the Saints continue to hold down first place in the BCIHL with an 11-2- 0-1 record.
The Saints now head into an extended holiday break where the student athletes can focus on final exams and spend time with family over the Christmas season. The team will return to league play on Jan. 12-13 when they host second place Trinity Western University in what will be a battle for first overall in the league.