Selkirk College Saints Quest for First Place Hits Snag

Jan 15 2018
After a high octane double-header at home where the Selkirk College Saints let the Trinity Western University Spartans escape town with a pair of wins, the team will regroup in its effort to capture first place in the BCIHL before the regular season ends in early-March.

The Trinity Western University Spartans accomplished what very few visiting British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) teams manage on a visit to the West Kootenay: a pair of weekend wins against the Selkirk College Saints.

In the Saints’ first action of 2018, the visitors escaped the Castlegar & District Recreation Centre with a 4-3 win on Friday night and a 3-2 overtime victory on Saturday. The four-point weekend cements the Spartans in the first place position in the BCIHL standings, four points clear of second place Selkirk College.

Saints first-year forward Grant Iles gets stopped by Silas Matthys in close during first period action on Friday night. Matthys stopped a total of 43 shots on the night, earning the game’s first star honour.

“It’s a good thing that it’s happened now,” says Saints coach Brent Heaven. “We can reset the focus. We were not quite ready coming out of the holiday break and an almost six-week layoff.”

An issue all season, on Friday night the Saints spotted their visitors an early lead in the first period when Joran Rendle and Evan Last beat Selkirk College starter Patrick Zubick to make the score 2-0. The Saints came storming back in the middle frame when Derek McPhail stuffed away a rebound just over two minutes in and then captain Dallas Calvin scored a powerplay marker with a terrific shot from the point midway through the period.

In a high flying final stanza, the Spartans struck first when Florian Niedermaier broke the tie less than two minutes into the third. Three minutes later, Saints’ newcomer Logan Styler beat TWU starter Silas Matthys top corner to knot the score once again. With just over 12 minutes left in the game, Brayden Brown scored what would hold up as the game winner for TWU.

Both teams combined for 84 shots in what was a contest featuring two high octane offences and solid goaltending. Matthys was named the game’s first star and Zubick the second star.

“He [Matthys] was fantastic all weekend long and helped create some momentum swings for his team that we had hoped might come the other way,” Heaven says of the opposing goaltender. “Throwing 47 shots at the net on Friday night, we were doing as much as we could.”

Tough Overtime Loss in Game Two

In the rematch Saturday night, the Spartans again jumped out to the first period lead when Dustin Deugau beat Selkirk College starter Brett Huber. The Saints took the lead in the second period with both Calvin and first year forward Grant Iles tallying to make the score 2-1 for the home side.

Trinity Western tied the score with five minutes left in the third period and with time running out in the overtime frame, Niedermaier scored the game winner to secure the second win in as many nights for the first place Spartans.

The double-header at the Castlegar & District Recreation Centre against Trinity Western had the gritty feel of a playoff contest. Players like Jack Mills (left) were up to the task.

Nine regular season games remain and the Saints now trail the Spartans by four points with one game in hand. With first place securing coveted home ice advantage for the entire playoffs, the two teams will meet one more time before the post-season when Selkirk College travels to Langley on February 17.

“It’s going to be difficult, but as I tell the guys: anything worthwhile is difficult,” Heaven says of finishing in first place. “It will be a challenge and the game we play them in February will be a big game.”

The Saints now turn their attention to the Eastern Washington University Eagles who will be the opponent for this weekend’s home-and-home set. The Eagles will visit Castlegar on Friday night and then the Saints will head south to Cheney, Washington on Sunday afternoon.

“We need to focus on the task at hand,” says Heaven. “We can’t look too far ahead and worry about where we are in the standings. If we prepare for every game, work hard and do the little things right then I feel like we have a great opportunity for success.”

Friday’s game at the Castlegar & District Recreation Centre starts at 7 p.m.

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Selkirk College Saints Enhance Roster for Second Semester

Jan 05 2018
 
The Selkirk College Saints hockey team prepare to start the second semester of play with three new additions to the line-up that will help make an already strong team even that much more equipped to challenge for a league championship this coming March.

The Selkirk College Saints added a trio of top-notch players over the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) holiday break that will bolster the team’s presence on the ice heading into the second half of the season.

The new additions include goaltender Tallon Kramer, forward Logan Styler and defenceman Cole Arcuri. All three have local roots and a resume of excellence in junior hockey.

Selkirk College Saints captain Dallas Calvin and his teammates welcomed three new players to the roster over the holiday break. The Saints start their second semester of play on Friday and Saturday night (January 12 and 13) against the Trinity Western University Spartans at the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex at 7 p.m.

“We’re obviously excited to have these three young men join our program,” says Saints coach Brent Heaven. “They are going to make us stronger and the competitiveness within the group is going to increase. We have more depth now, so with the inevitable adversity that you face, we are now better equipped to work through it.”

In his final season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), Kramer backstopped the Beaver Valley Nitehawks to a tremendous 2016-2017 season that saw the Fruitvale-based team capture the league championship and the Cyclone Taylor Cup. Kramer and the Nighthawks lost an overtime heartbreaker to the Wainwright Bisons in last spring’s Keystone Cup that determines Western Canada’s top Junior B team.

Styler grew up in the Prince George area, but in 2013-2014 came to play in the KIJHL with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. He finished his Junior B career with the Castlegar Rebels where he led the league in scoring last season with 26 goals and 54 assists.

Arcuri grew up in Nelson and played on both the Kootenay Ice Midget AAA team and the Nelson Leafs in the KIJHL. The 21-year-old blueliner also counts three seasons of Junior A experience with the Powell River Kings and Merritt Centennials.

“You are always looking to improve your program, not just for this season but into the future,” Heaven says of the three additions. “We want to win a championship and by adding these three players it only increases our chances.”

Saints Coming Off Great First Semester

The Saints didn’t add the new players due to weakness in the first semester line-up. The team blazed out to a perfect 10-0 start to the season before suffering their first loss in mid-November to the Trinity Western University Spartans. The Saints dominate league scoring leaders with captain Dallas Calvin 13 points ahead in top spot and Derek McPhail, Parker Sharp and Dane Feeney also in the top-10. Goaltenders Brett Huber and Patrick Zubick had a solid first semester, both currently leading the league in save percentage.

Even though all three newcomers come with impressive backgrounds, Heaven says they need to earn their spots in the line-up and their ice time during games.

“When you add a player mid-season, the first thing is that you need to show your teammates that you are here for them and willing to do whatever it takes to be a good teammate,” Heaven says.

Rookie forward Parker Sharp is one of the Saints who got off to a great start in 2017. The Business Administration Program student is currently ninth in league scoring.

The first major test of the second semester for all the Saints starts at home this coming weekend when Trinity Western visits the Castlegar & District Recreation Complex on Friday and Saturday. The Spartans currently trail the first place Saints by three points in the standings with one game in-hand. The Langley-based team will arrive the West Kootenay riding a five-game winning streak. The Saints entered the break with a 2-2-0-1 record in their last five games which were all played on the road.

“It’s a really tough opening weekend, Trinity Western is a very good team and this will be an important start to the second semester,” Heaven says. “We will play the aggressive game we have developed over the year and as the season progresses we will be making improvements as we go along.”

The playoffs will start in early-March where the Saints will be looking to return the BCIHL Championship to Castlegar where it lived for four seasons between 2013 and 2016.

“We’re still involved in the process of developing towards an end goal,” Heaven says of his team’s strategy for the last 11 regular season games. “It was a long holiday break and that is difficult for conditioning and to get your touch back, but we will pick up on competing every night and working towards our strategy to succeed in our ultimate goal of a championship.”

The Saints will take on Trinity Western both Friday and Saturday night (January 12 and 13) with the puck drop at 7 p.m. Both games will feature a food drive to help the Selkirk College Food Bank. Fans are asked to bring non-perishable food items to help out students and those who donate will be entered to win a Saints prize pack.

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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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2018/01/15: Selkirk College Saints Quest for First Place Hits Snag
2018/01/05: Selkirk College Saints Enhance Roster for Second Semester
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
Regular Season Game
January 19th, 2018 at 7:00 PM
 

 
Castlegar Recreation Centre
FULL SCHEDULE
 
Regular Season Game
January 13th, 2018 at 7:00 PM
 

 
3 - 2 (OT)
BOX SCORE
 
TEAM GP W L T TP
Trinity Western 17 14 3 0 28
Selkirk Saints 16 11 3 0 24
Simon Fraser 14 9 5 0 18
Mariners 15 7 8 0 14
Victoria 14 3 10 0 7
Eastern Washington 14 1 12 0 3