The Selkirk College Saints Men’s Hockey program opened their 2013/13 B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League season with a bang, scoring early and often in a 7-2 victory over Eastern Washington University at the Castlegar Recreation Complex on Friday, Oct. 4.
The evening began with a pre-game ceremony that saw the team’s 2012/13 BCIHL championship banner lifted to the rafters in front of a group of special guests that included Angus Graeme, Selkirk College president; Bruce Morrison, board of governors chair; Cathy Mercer, registrar and Kim Verigin, athletics and recreation coordinator.
Once the puck dropped, it took the Saints just over a minute to open the scoring as a Jackson Garrett pass was converted from the top of the crease by Connor McLaughlin past Eagles starter Jason Greenwell to give the hosts an early lead.
McLaughlin netted his second goal of the period with 5:19 remaining in the frame and helped set up linemate Beau Taylor for Selkirk’s third of the period, but EWU responded with a pair of power-play goals and trailed by a single goal after 20 minutes.
It was all Saints the rest of the way, however, beginning midway through the second when McLaughlin completed his hat trick on a power-play feed from team captain Logan Proulx. Cody Fidgett scored on another man-advantage minutes later and added two more in the third period to complete a hat trick of his own.
James Prigione picked up his first win in net for Selkirk, turning aside 25 shots on the night. Overall, the Saints out-shot their visitors by a 47-27 margin.
“Tonight turned into a bit of a special teams battle and our power-play was up for the challenge,” says Saints head coach Jeff Dubois. “We got five goals and both units had a lot of success moving the puck and generating scoring opportunities. Connor (McLaughlin) and Cody (Fidgett) both picked up where they left off last season and had big games, and defensively we were very solid at 5-on-5 and got some timely saves from James (Prigione) when we needed them.”
Selkirk finished 5-for-7 on the man-advantage while killing four of six EWU opportunities.
Well over 400 fans took in the game on Friday, which caught the attention of Saints players and coaches.
“The support that we got tonight from the community was tremendous,” says Dubois. “Our first-year players have been hearing about the energy that builds at the Complex on game night, and the noise and passion in the building made a real impression on them. We felt the buzz around town leading up to the game this week and it was very satisfying to send the fans home happy with a very good performance to start the season.”
The Saints will return to action Friday, October 11 when the University of Victoria visits Castlegar. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.