The Selkirk College Saints had a bounce back weekend in the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) with a pair of wins over Eastern Washington University (EWU) Eagles.
Following two tough losses at home against Trinity Western University (TWU) to kick off the new year, the Saints grounded the Eagles 6-1 at home on Friday, before skating to a 6-3 win Sunday.
“It was a big, big weekend for us,” Saints’ head coach Brent Heaven told Selkirk communications director Bob Hall. “Starting off the new year against Trinity Western the weekend before and losing two very close games, it wasn’t the result we wanted and put us in a bit of a deficit position. These four points were huge and we needed them to stay in the hunt.”
The wins keep the second place, 13-3-0-2, Saints just four points back of 16-3-0-0 TWU in the BCIHL standings, with the Saints holding a game in hand. TWU has been unbeatable of late, winning 11 straight games in the quest for its first regular season title since 2015. The Saints have seven games remaining, including a final match against Trinity on Feb. 17 in Langley, before the regular season comes to a close in early March.
The most recent Saints’ additions proved their worth, as newcomers Cole Arcuri scored twice and added an assist, while Logan Styler contributed four helpers in Sunday’s 6-3 victory in Cheney, Wash.
Selkirk College and EWU combined for six power-play goals, but it was the Saints’ four-goal outburst in the second period that lifted the visitors to their 18th win of the season.
EWU jumped out to a 2-1 lead first-period lead on power-play goals from Austin Breen and Joseph Porco, while Arcuri replied for Selkirk. But the Saints offence erupted in the middle frame with Arcuri’s second of the night followed by goals from Jonas Horvath, Jack Mills and Dane Feeney.
Beau Walker brought Eastern within two early in the third, but Selkirk restored their three-goal cushion when Parker Wakaruk finished a set up from Mills and Derek Georgopoulos for their third power-play tally of the day.
Patrick Zubick picked up the win in goal with a 30-save performance while Austin Brihn stopped 44 shots in the loss.
The feisty match up saw the Eagles top line of Walker, Colton St. John and Brett Mathews combine for five points in a game where the hosts finished 3-for-9 with the man advantage. Selkirk scored three times on seven opportunities.
“We have played each other so many times over the years, we have a pretty good rivalry and intensity between these two teams,” said Heaven.
In Friday’s match at the Castlegar Rec Complex, four Saints goals in the second broke open a 1-1 game on the way to the 6-1 victory.
Nelson native Brandon Sookro scored twice, and Seth Smith, Jonas Horvath, Cole Arcuri, and Grant Iles netted the other Saints markers in the home victory.
Selkirk outshot the Eagles 42-19 with Brett Huber earning the win in net for the Saints.
Saints captain and Trail native Dallas Calvin, who leads the BCIHL in scoring, was conspicuously absent from the line up with an upper-body injury, while linemate Derek McPhail was ejected two minutes into Friday’s match for a hit to the head, and served the suspension on Sunday, effectively eliminating the top two Saints scorers from play.
“When those players are in the line-up, there is no doubt we rely on them and all the players have a strong connection to them,” says Heaven. “But the group needs to know that everybody needs to step up when there is adversity and you need to be prepared for it. This weekend we were prepared for it and the results were excellent.”
Selkirk College’s next game goes on Saturday at 7 p.m. when they host Simon Fraser University at the Castlegar Rec Complex.