Selkirk College Hockey Team Looks for Surge into Playoffs
The Selkirk College Saints are now in a position to capture the all-important home ice advantage during the first round of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) playoffs after two straight wins over the Eastern Washington University Eagles.
With time winding down on the regular season, the two-time defending league champion Saints hurdled over the University of Victoria Vikes with the two wins and now sit in second spot in the league. The Saints travel to Vancouver Island this coming weekend for a crucial two-game set with the Vikes that will play a key role in determining who finishes the season in the coveted second place position.
Saints goaltender James Prigione picked up his seventh win of the season in net for the Saints on Friday before a home crowd, turning aside 20 shots.
Friday Night Home Crowd Helps Fuel Victory
This past weekend started with the Eagles visiting the Castlegar Recreation Complex in a game that marked the BCIHL debut of Jamie Vlanich who led the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) in scoring last season while a member of the Nelson Leafs. The Trail-born Vlanich had been sidelined with knee surgery.
It was EWU that took an early lead on Friday when Paxton Bell opened the scoring less than four minutes into regulation. The teams then exchanged a trio of power-play goals before intermission, as markers from Selkirk's Vlanich and Ryan Procyshyn sandwiched a Chase Wharton tally for the Eagles.
JR Strait gave the visitors their third lead of the night midway through the middle frame, but the Saints took the game over from there with four unanswered goals.
Matt Martin struck twice before the end of the second, while Ryan Edwards and Marc-Antoine Guimond capped the scoring in the third.
James Prigione picked up his seventh win of the season in net for the Saints, turning aside 20 shots. Tyler O'Donnell was tagged for the loss despite a 26-save effort.
Return of Vlanich Helps Offense
On Saturday night, the Saints traveled south to Cheney for the second game of the weekend series.
The teams traded goals during a busy first period, as Brett Mathews put the hosts ahead early before Vlanich scored his second goal in as many games.
Wharton restored EWU's lead on a late period power-play, but Saints’ rookie Ryan Edwards responded less than a minute later to knot the game at 2-2 after 20 minutes.
Selkirk captain Logan Proulx scored the lone goal of the second period just 50 seconds in, and the visitors held on to their 3-2 lead until the first minute of the third when Mathews notched his second of the night.
Tied 3-3 midway through the frame, Selkirk forward Danny Vlanich was brought down on a shorthanded breakaway. He scored on the ensuing penalty shot to put the Saints ahead, and Tanner Lenting capped the scoring on a power-play minutes later to put the game out of reach.
Procyshyn—who was playing in only his fifth game of the season due to a pre-season broken ankle—registered three assists in the game.
Steven Glass made his first start for Selkirk since November 30 and turned aside 16 shots to record his third straight BCIHL win. Austin Brihn was beaten five times in 29 shots in the loss.
The Saints will head west to Victoria for games on Friday and Saturday against the Vikes. Suiting up for Victoria will be former Nelson Leafs Carsen Willians and Linden Horswill who are both rookies with the Vikes. The first round of the playoffs begin on March 6 and the team that finishes second—Trinity Western University has already wrapped up first place—will host the league semi-final.
The Saints will wrap up the regular season on February 28 when they once again travel to Cheney to take on Eastern Washington.