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Selkirk College Saints Head Into Break Atop League Standings

DEC 04 2017

With the first half of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League season now in the books, the Selkirk College Saints are the established team to beat as the student athletes take a break from the action that will resume in the second week of January.

The Selkirk College Saints skate into the holiday break with visions of a 2018 British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) championship dancing in their heads, but there’s still plenty of work to be done once the players return in early-January.

The Saints concluded the first semester of the BCIHL season with a split decision western road trip where they beat the University of Victoria Vikes 3-2 on Friday night and then dropped a tough 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 were 1-2-0-1 in their last four games.

Selkirk College Saints defenceman Seth Schmidt rushes the puck up the ice against the Vancouver Island University Mariners. The second-year blueliner scored a third period goal in Saturday night’s loss to the Mariners. The Saints return home on the January 12/13 weekend when they will host the Trinity Western University Spartans at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex in what will be a battle for first place in the league.

“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.”

Weekend Split on Vancouver Island Trip

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 Brandon Sookro scored the game-winner with just over two minutes left in the game to secure a victory.

Saints forward Jonas Horvath engages with Vancouver Island University rivals. The Selkirk College squad came out on the wrong end of a 6-4 score on Saturday night in Nanaimo.

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.”

Terrific First Half of the Season

Despite the recent stumble, the Saints continue to hold down first place in the BCIHL with an 11-2-0-1 record.

“It’s good to face adversity because those are the moments that show what you need to do to be successful,” says Heaven. “I’m not upset that we lost a couple of games, it’s good to have these opportunities to learn from at this point of the season. But at the end of the day, I feel really confident in this group. I like what we have all the way through the line-up, we have shown that can put the puck in the net and keep the puck out defensively. It all comes down to the way we want to play the game and that is something we will continue to preach.”

The Saints now head into an extended holiday break where the student athletes can focus on final exams and then spend time with family over the Christmas season. The team will return to league play on the January 12/13 weekend when they host second place Trinity Western University in what will be a battle for first overall in the league.

“The job isn’t done and there is a long road ahead,” says Heaven. “The preparation the players take over the next five weeks will be critical if we are going to be successful in the second half of the season.”

The Saints captured four straight BCIHL championships between 2013 and 2016. The January hope games at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex start at 7 p.m.

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Selkirk College Saints String Together 10 Straight Victories

NOV 14 2017

A balanced offensive attack and strong goaltending have helped the Selkirk College Saints off to a perfect 10-0 start to the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League season. The student athletes now hit the road for the remainder of the first semester portion of the season.

The Selkirk College Saints are still a long way from the ultimate British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) destination, but the ride so far has been packed with success.

The Saints brought an eight-game regular season winning streak into the long weekend. After defeating the Trinity Western University Spartans 5-2 at home on Friday night and the Eastern Washington University Eagles 4-2 at Cheney on Sunday afternoon, the Saints record remains unblemished.

Selkirk College Saints first-year forward Logan Kerner carries the puck up the ice on Friday night against the Trinity Western University Spartans at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex. Kerner and the Saints won the game 5-2 and added to their weekend success with a 4-2 victory over the University of Eastern Washington on Sunday afternoon.

“I think resilience has been the biggest factor in the first 10 games,” says Saints head coach Brent Heaven. “The way we are playing right now, we know that we can win any game. There is always adversity, but you need to play consistent and work for your rewards.”

The second-place Spartans arrived to the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex on Friday night for their first match-up of the season against the first-place Saints. Saints forward Brandon Sookro started the scoring two minutes in with a pretty goal in tight that beat Spartans starter Lucas Mills. Derek McPhail then added a powerplay marker with seven minutes left in the period to give the home side a 2-0 lead.

Trinity Western answered first in the middle frame when Kenny Batke beat Saints starter Patrick Zubick. Goals by Nelson Hurry and Parker Sharp then restored the Saints lead to 4-1 before the end of the second period. Trinity Western made it interesting late in the third period when Brayden Brown scored to make it 4-2, but captain Dallas Calvin put the game away with an empty net goal to preserve the win.

Goaltending Key in Winning Streak

Trinity Western outshot the Saints 31-26 in the game and forced Zubick to come up big on several occasions, particularly in the final period.

“With either guy in net, our team is playing extremely confident in front of them,” Heaven says of Zubick and Brett Huber. “The team knows that both of them are able to make the big save when we need it. They have been doing it for us and the results are showing in the standings right now.”

Patrick Zubick deals with traffic in front of the Saints net on Friday night. The first-year goaltender and third-year Brett Huber have been vital contributors to the team's success so far this season.

With the addition of goaltender coach Alex Ross, the Saints are putting strong focus on a position that is key to a championship season. Zubick returned to his hometown of Castlegar after helping the Dryden Ice Dogs win a junior championship in Ontario last season and has been solid in his first BCIHL season. Huber, who is in his third year with the Saints, was named the BCIHL goaltender of the month for October.

“They are sharing the load and the pressure doesn’t pile on their shoulders,” Heaven says of the tandem. “Both of them are able to help this team succeed and that has been a big attribute so far this season. What’s also very important is they are building a strong relationship, they are battling for each other and not against each other.”

On Sunday afternoon in Cheney, Washington, the Saints once again jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Sookro and Jack Mills. Eastern Washington tied the score in the second period with a pair of powerplay goals that came courtesy of five-on-three advantages. In the third period, the swarming Saints attack didn’t allow for an Eagles shot until 13 minutes had passed in the final frame. Goals by McPhail and Tyler Hartman secured the team’s tenth win.

Balanced Attack Helps Fuel Offence

One of the keys to the Saints’ success to this point is a potent offence. Seven different players scored a goal over the weekend.  

“We have 10 to 12 guys who can put the puck into the net on any night,” says Heaven. “Obviously we have Dallas Calvin and teams will focus in on him, but then they tend to forget about these other guys.”

Calvin’s blistering start has the Trail native leading the league in points with eight goals and 16 helpers. With both Trinity Western and Eastern Washington matching lines against the unit of Calvin, McPhail and Derek Georgopoulos, more attention is being shone on the Saints’ top line.

Dallas Calvin and Derek McPhail are two-thirds of the line (that includes Derek Georgopoulos) that has been tearing up the league so far this season.

“That line will have to battle through situations like that all season,” Heaven says of the extra attention. “When you have a guy who is averaging 2.5 points a game, I don’t think any opposing team is going to let a guy like that skate around free out there.”

The Saints will not return to the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex until January 12 and 13 when Trinity Western returns to the West Kootenay. The Selkirk College squad will now play the remaining four games of the semester on the road against four different coastal-based teams.

“These are big games because we have a five-week break at Christmas,” Heaven says of two upcoming away weekends. “These road games will help set the tone for what happens in the second half of the season. We’ve been on a good streak to start, but ultimately it’s about building a process and continuing to improve. It can quickly turn around on you, so we need to ensure we continue to play with emotion and intensity. You don’t want to sit back because every game in this league is important.”

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Selkirk College Saints Earn Deeper Knowledge After Pair of Wins

NOV 06 2017

The Selkirk College Saints continued their early season roll with a pair of victories over the University of Victoria Vikes on home ice over the weekend. The 8-0 Saints will now attempt to keep their unblemished BCIHL regular season record intact when they host the Trinity Western University Spartans on Friday night at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex.

The learning for student athletes on the Selkirk College Saints doesn’t stop when they leave class for the rink and there was plenty of lessons to soak in after coming away with a pair of wins at home against the University of Victoria Vikes.

The Saints ran their British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) regular season record to a perfect 8-0 after thumping the Vikes 7-0 on Friday night and escaping with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex.

Selkirk College Saints first-year goaltender Patrick Zubick turns back a University of Victoria Vikes attack on Friday night at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex. Zubick earned his first BCIHL shutout in a 7-0 win that was part of a four-point weekend for the home side.

“On the teaching side of it, Saturday’s game was a better game for teaching, instructing, learning and growing,” says Saints head coach Brent Heaven. “Friday’s game was obviously a great game to watch because of the skillset and the way we played the game was as we had depicted it pre-game and were working on all week in preparation. There’s learning in both and that is an important element as the season progresses.”

Vikes on Wrong End of Dominant Performance Friday Night

The Saints started the weekend with an offensive onslaught that began when Derek McPhail put away the game’s first goal just over six minutes in when he finished a tic-tac-toe passing play with Derek Georgopoulos and captain Dallas Calvin. Veteran Saints forward Dane Feeney gave his side a 2-0 advantage before the end of the first 20 minutes when he put away a juicy rebound.

Saints first-year forward Tyler Hartman works hard in front of the Vikes' net on Friday night's 7-0 victory.

In the second period, the Saints peppered Vikes starter Michael Fredrick with 21 shots that resulted in goals by defenceman Gordon Campbell, Georgopoulos and Grant Iles. In the final frame, McPhail scored his league leading ninth goal of the season and rookie Logan Kerner notched his first ever BCIHL goal to complete the scoring.

Saints starting goaltender and Castlegar native Patrick Zubick was the less busy of the two goaltenders, but came up with several key saves in the second period to preserve his first ever BCIHL shutout before a supportive home crowd.

“From start to finish on Friday night we played a really solid game, it was as close to a 60-minute effort that we’ve put forth this year,” says Heaven. “It showed with a 7-0 score and the way we shut them down when they did have any opportunities.”

Feeney Scores One of the Best of Season

On Saturday night, the Vikes showed they were not going to be sent back to Vancouver Island without a fight. Calvin scored early in the first period on the powerplay, but UVIC quickly tied it up when Landen Matechuk beat Saints’ starter Brett Huber. Late in the second period, Brett Lervold scored on the powerplay to give the visitors a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

“Everybody realized after two periods that we hadn’t put our best step forward for the most part,” says Heaven. “In the third period we came out and played really solid where we played the game we wanted to play from the start.”

Saints forward Derek McPhail creates traffic in front of the UVIC net. With a pair of markers on Friday night, the first-year BCIHL standout leads the league on goals.

Selkirk College second-year forward Jack Mills scored eight minutes into the third period and despite firing 19 shots on the Victoria net, Vikes goaltender Alec Dillon thwarted the attack with stellar play to force overtime. In the three-on-three overtime period, the Vikes were caught with too many men and a delayed penalty was indicated by the official. After Huber hustled to the bench, Calvin hopped on the ice for the extra attacker where he was able to harness the puck and draw a pair of UVIC players. Calvin found Feeney open in front of the Victoria net with a perfect pass and the shifty forward scored a highlight reel goal for the game winner.

“Saturday’s game proved a lot of things to the boys,” says Heaven. “It doesn’t matter who you are playing against, if you are not fully prepared to battle then a game can get away from you early. We were able to get back into it and give ourselves a chance to win, but that isn’t always going to happen. So a game like Saturday night is definitely a better learning opportunity because you have some adversity and challenges that you need to overcome.”

With more lessons now learned, the Saints will face their stiffest contest of the year on Friday night when the Trinity Western University Spartans arrive to the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex. The Spartans currently sit six points back of first-place Selkirk College with a 5-2 record.

“I’m excited for this game and the boys are excited about it,” says Heaven. “We haven’t faced Trinity this year and it will be good test. They have had some good early success, they have a lot of key returning players and they have some really good recruits.”

Friday night’s game will be the last home date of the first semester. The puck drops at the Castlegar arena at 7 p.m.

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2017/12/06: Selkirk College Saints Head Into Break Atop League Standings
2017/11/14: Selkirk College Saints String Together 10 Straight Victories
2017/11/06: Selkirk College Saints Earn Deeper Knowledge After Pair of Wins
2017/10/29: Selkirk College Saints Return from Island with Four Points
2017/10/22: Selkirk College Saints Maintain Unblemished Record
Regular Season Game
January 12th, 2018 at 7:00 PM
 

 
Castlegar Recreation Centre
FULL SCHEDULE
 
Regular Season Game
December 2nd, 2017 at 4:30 PM
 

 
4 - 6
BOX SCORE
 
TEAM GP W L T TP
Selkirk Saints 14 11 2 0 23
Trinity Western 13 10 3 0 20
Simon Fraser 11 6 5 0 12
Mariners 12 6 6 0 12
Victoria 12 2 9 0 5
Eastern Washington 10 1 8 0 3