The Selkirk College Saints kicked off the 2012 Intercollegiate Hockey League season with a pair of road victories by vanquishing the University of Victoria Vikings in a two-game series on the weekend.
After skating to a 4-3 win Friday night, the Saints would need a little extra time before it emerged with a 5-4 win in overtime Saturday.
Saints’ defenceman Lucas Hildebrand blasted a point shot by a screened Vikes goalie to score the winning goal 33 seconds into OT. In a game dominated by special teams and short on sustained 5-on-5 action, the Saints used three power-play goals and an offensive burst from the blueline to sweep their weekend series against a hard-working and determined Vikes squad.
Former Trail Smoke Eater Logan Proulx and Dylan Smith struck in the first period to help establish a 2-1 lead for the Selkirk, and a tremendous individual effort by winger Cody Fidgett in the second extended the Saints lead to 3-1. But penalty trouble slowed down Selkirk for much of the middle frame and into the third, and the Vikes capitalized off the sticks of Matt Bell and Evan Warner to bring them even going into the third.
Team captain Jordan Wood put the Saints ahead on a power-play marker, but Victoria forward Dennis Pavlina earned the Vikes a point and sent the game to overtime when he snuck a rebound past Selkirk netminder Stephen Wolff with under three minutes to go in regulation.
In the Saints 4-3 victory Friday, the Vikings came back from a 3-2 deficit to tie it in the third, but Fidgett would notch the winner when he blasted a shot over the glove of Victoria netminder Sunny Gill. The hosts pushed hard in the closing minutes of the third and picked up a late power-play opportunity, but Saints starter Alex Sirard stood tall in net
“Our group battled hard tonight and they were rewarded for a very solid road effort,” says Saints head coach Jeff Dubois. “UVic plays on a smaller ice surface than we’re used to and they don’t give opponents much time or space to operate, so there were some lessons learned tonight that we’ll use to be better tomorrow. But we’re pleased with the effort and the result, and we’re happy to get the season off to a winning start.”
Selkirk now returns from Vancouver Island to face Trinity Western University in their first regular season game in front of their home fans. Faceoff is set for 8 p.m. on Friday, at the Castlegar Receation Complex.