A pair of weekend wins against the University of Victoria Vikes has propelled the Selkirk College Saints to first place in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League. The Saints will now hit the road for eight straight games in opposition arenas where their skills will once again be put to the test.
After a pair of weekend victories against the University of Victoria Vikes, the Selkirk College Saints are riding a four-game winning streak and sitting right where they hoped to be in the early stages of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) season.
The three-time defending league champions trounced the Vikes 9-1 on Friday night and followed it up with a hard fought 4-2 win on Saturday to complete the weekend sweep. The Saints now sit atop the BCIHL standings as they get set to complete the first half of the season on the road.
Selkirk College Saints second-year forward Jamie Vlanich led his team to two weekend victories over the University of Victoria Vikes. The Trail Minor Hockey product scored four goals and added two assists in the two games where he was named first-star twice.
“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,” says Saints coach Brent Heaven. “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.”
Vikes Witness Powerful Offensive Attack
In Friday night’s thumping of the Vikes, Jamie Vlanich and Dallas Calvin led the assault with two goals and two assists each, but at the end of the night 15 players registered at least one point. In a game that was tied 0-0 after the first 20 minutes, Saints goaltender James Prigione and the Selkirk College defence were solid in preparation for the goal parade.
“We can roll any line and get success from it,” Heaven says of the relentless Selkirk College attack. “Each line contributes in a different way and brings a different element to the program.”
Selkirk College Saints goaltender James Prigione angles for a better view while defenceman Danny Vlanich clears traffic in Friday night’s 9-1 thumping of the University of Victoria Vikes.
On Saturday night, the Saints built a 3-0 lead after the opening period with Vlanich notching two more goals to bolster his weekend totals. The Vikes came roaring back in the second period with two of their own when the Patrick Webb and Chris Manhas managed to beat Saints starter Brett Huber. Rookie defenceman Nathan Browne scored just over five minutes into the third to give the Saints a 4-2 lead they would not relinquish.
The Saints have now seen 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.”
Saints Road Game to be Tested
The Saints will now hit the road for the next eight regular season games where the team’s ability to play in unfriendly confines will be tested.
After Friday night's game at the Castlegar & District Community Complex, players came out to sign autographs for local hockey fans.
“It’s good bonding time for the guys,” Heaven says of the upcoming roadtrips. “Last year we had some struggles on the road, but we have had some good success at home and that should help with our confidence.”
The Saints will play an exhibition series with North Dakota’s Williston State on January 8 and 9 at the Castlegar & District Community Complex. The team’s next regular season home game is January 29 when they will host Trinity Western University.
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