The Selkirk College Saints stretched their winning streak to four games with a sweep of the University of Victoria Vikings in BC Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) action on the weekend.
The Saints whipped a road-weary Vikings squad 9-1 on Friday, before doubling them up 4-2 on Saturday at the Castlegar Rec Complex.
“When we are playing our game, within our system and working hard … we are one of the top teams, if not the top team in the league,” Saints coach Brent Heaven told Bob Hall, Selkirk communications rep. “That’s somewhere we want to be and it took us a little bit of time to find our groove. Over the last month we have gotten into a position where the guys are buying in and starting to identify their individual roles which is helping our team’s success.”
Trail native Jamie Vlanich led the way, scoring twice on both nights and adding two assists in the opening match, as Selkirk grabbed a four-point lead on Trinity Western in BCIHL standings.
Vlanich netted the winner on Saturday on another pretty setup from Ryan Edwards and Dallas Calvin, beating Vikes goalie Zach Wear with 1:40 to play in the first to give the Saints a 3-0 lead.
The former Nelson Leaf forward’s four points puts him into a tie for third spot with Edwards in BCIHL scoring with 14 points while Calvin leads the league with 12 goals and eight assists.
Derek Georgopoulos opened the scoring on a set up from Ryan Sookro and former Trail Smoke Eater Nathan Browne at 16:58.
After Uvic’s Shawn Mueller was sent off for highsticking, Vlanich scored his first goal of the night on the power play with assists going to Ashton McLeod and Alex Milligan.
The Vikes mounted a comeback in the second period, making it 3-2 on goals from Patrick Webb and Chris Manhas. But a third period goal by Browne iced it for the Saints, giving them their sixth win of the season.
With the Trail trio of Calvin, Edwards, and Vlanich dominating on the scoreboard of late, secondary scoring stepped up on the weekend, with Georgopoulos, Browne, and Sookro each getting two points in the game.
“We can roll any line and get success from it,” Heaven said of the relentless Selkirk College attack. “Each line contributes in a different way and brings a different element to the program.”
In Friday’s 9-1 drubbing, Calvin and Vlanich had four-point nights with two goals and two assists, while Sookro pitched in with three helpers.
After a scoreless first period, Selkirk jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second, then erupted for six goals in the third period for the 9-1 win.
The Saints got points from 15 players, and goals from Tanner Lenting, Richard Gratz, Matt Martin, Tyler Kerner, and Dane Feeney rounded out the scoring.
The Saints have now played all four BCIHL teams that stand between them and a fourth straight league title.
With a goal differential of plus-25 and five of the league’s top-10 scorers, the Saints have made a statement early on.
Despite the success, Heaven says there is plenty of work to be done before the real celebration can begin.
“There are good teams in this league, there is going to be some ups and downs over the season,” says Heaven. “It’s not going to be easy. Anytime you are striving for a championship the process is difficult. The hard work will pay off when you put it in and we’re definitely on the right track.”
The Saints play just four games, all on the road, until the New Year. The next two weekends, Selkirk College travels to Eastern Washington University to take on the Eagles, before winding up 2015 with a pair of crucial games against Trinity Western and SFU Dec. 4-5.
After Ryan Edwards was awarded BCIHL Player of the Week last week, Jamie Vlanich was given consideration for this week’s award for his six point weekend. However, the PoW was given to SFU’s Graham Smerek for a three-point game against EWU on Saturday.
Dallas Calvin was named Rookie of the Month in the BCIHL, and Saints goalie James Prigone was awarded Goaltender of the Month.
Calvin led the league, scoring 10 times and racking up 15 points in October, while Prigone led all goalies in wins, 3, goals against, 2.42, and save percentage .906.
With files from Selkirk College communications director Bob Hall.