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Saints head to playoffs on a high note

Selkirk squad closes out season with decisive win over Stateside crew
Selkirk alumnus Bruce Allingham

The Selkirk Saints men's hockey team wrapped up a successful 2012-2013 regular season with a 7 - 3 win over BCIHL rival Eastern Washington University in front of an appreciative home crowd at the Castlegar Recreation Complex Saturday, March 2.

The Eagles came into Castlegar fresh off a 4 - 1 win in their building the previous evening, but just over four minutes had ticked off the clock when forward Logan Proulx put Selkirk on the board first.

Proulx's sharp shot from the right side of EWU goalie Jason Greenwell came from Jackson Garrett; Dylan Smith also assisted on the play.

The Eagles tied the game near the half-way mark of the first on a power-play goal by Nick Redding from Zach Maxwell and Bret Kellogg.

Selkirk pulled ahead 2 - 1 on a Jackson Garrett power-play marker with 3:39 to play in the opening frame. Ken Crawford and Jordan Wood were part of the go-ahead goal.

The Saints' Connor McLaughlin then got in on the scoring action with just 1:34 on the clock and EWU suddenly found itself down by two. Continuing what seemed to be a "no man left off the score sheet" approach, Lucas Hildebrand and Clayton McEwan were credited with assists.

During the first intermission, Selkirk College president Angus Graeme, business instructors Mike Konkin and Doug Johnstone, along with dean Rhys Andrews, volunteered to take pies in the face to raise funds for Blueberry Creek Community School's early childhood education programs.* Four-year-old Rylie Parker and his two-year-old brother Austin, were helped by parents Jeromie and Crystal to make sure the pies found their mark.

When the second period got started, Proulx continued his strong play with another slick goal at 14:37 to make it a 4 - 1 game. This time, it was Wood and Justin Sotkowy helping to extend the lead.

Eastern Washington pulled within two late in the second on a goal by Tyler Mort from Uriah Machuga but a scrum involving most on-ice players seemed to have a chilling effect on any momentum they might have been gaining. Referee Page had words with both team captains and bench staff.

In the second intermission, Crawford Bay resident (and Saints alumnus) Larry Keraiff joined Castlegar residents Elaine Bevans and Angela Gibson in a $5, 000 shoot-to-win contest. Though no one found the small opening from centre ice to claim the cash, all walked away with Boston Pizza gift certificates and first round playoff tickets.

The rough ending to the second proved costly for the Eagles just 1:20 into the final period. The Saints started on the power play and in short order Wood fed Garrett, whose cross-ice pass then found the stick of Proulx alone at the side of the net. He made no mistake in slamming home his hat trick goal giving the Saints a 5 - 2 lead.

Wisely, the Saints didn't  coast on their three-goal lead. Mason Spear got his lone point of the night with 4:41 to play, after taking a puck from Proulx and feeding Kam Crawford who pushed the lead to four at 6 - 2.

Fans were already starting to rise to their feet when Chase Wharton pulled EWU back to within three moments later.

But as if to say, "we see your goal and raise you another," Beau Taylor played the final card of the night with his twelfth goal of the season from a sharp angle with just over a minute to play.

The final score was 7 - 3 Saints and their 54 shots were more than double what EWU could throw at Alex Sirard (25). Sinard lost only won of his 14 games this season, and had a save percentage of .904.

With two assists on the night, Jordan Wood took the BCIHL scoring title with 43 points, five clear of teammate Logan Proulx and UVIC's Shawn Mueller. Wood also ended the season second in the goals column, just three behind Mueller's mark of 22.

"We were looking for our offence to get back on track after a couple of tough efforts against Eastern and we accomplished that," says Saints head coach Jeff Dubois in a press release. "You want to be firing on all cylinders heading into playoffs, so this was a solid performance overall and a good way to cap off the regular season."

The Saints go up against the UVIC Vikes in back-to-back games Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

Selkirk handed out their team awards in a pre-game ceremony. The winners were Jordan Wood (MVP), Logan Proulx (Rookie of the Year), Kam Crawford (Top Defenceman), Lucas Hildebrand (Unsung Hero) and Connor McLaughlin/Scott Swiston (Coaches Award).


*Story Updated Mar. 4, 2013 to reflect that "Blueberry Creek Community School's early childhood education programs" is the beneficiary of the donation from this event.