The Selkirk Saints open the BCIHL playoffs this weekend at home.

The Selkirk Saints open the BCIHL playoffs this weekend at home.

Selkirk College Saints eye third straight BCIHL title

The Selkirk College Saints begin their quest for a third straight British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League championship this weekend.

Submitted to the Castlegar News

The Selkirk College Saints begin their quest for a third straight British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League championship this weekend as they take on University of Victoria Vikes in a best-of-three series beginning Friday.

Faceoff for Game 1 is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Castlegar recreation complex.

The Saints clinched home ice in the first round by defeating University of Victoria by scores of 7-1 and 6-2 two weeks ago on Vancouver Island. However, those games appeared closer than the final outcome.

“Those victories over the Vikes this month were not easy,” says Saints head coach Alex Evin. “They are a hard working team and definitely had their moments to keep the game within reach. Fortunately for us our special teams were clutch and out goaltender was sharp or it would have been a lot closer.”

The Saints have a 4-0 record against the Vikes this season, but every contest has been hard fought and intense. Back in late November, the Saints came from behind to win in a shootout 5-4. The following afternoon they needed late game heroics to tie the game in the final minute before Lucas Hildebrand scored the winner in overtime, completing back-to-back come from behind wins.

“We understand as a group that this series will be tight and whichever team makes the greater sacrifices will hopefully advance to the finals,” Evin said.

Advanced tickets will be available at Mallard’s in Castlegar. Adults $10, seniors and Selkirk staff $7, youth $5, children under six free. For the first time free tickets will be available for Selkirk College students. They can be picked up at the gym with college ID. General admission tickets will also be available at the door on game night.

SELKIRK COLLEGE (13-8-0-3) vs UVIC (11-10-0-3)

SEASON SERIES: Selkirk College won 4-0, outscoring the Vikes 20-8. Early in their last meeting on February 21 at the Ian Stewart Complex in Victoria, the Saints exploded for four goals in the first four minutes on their first four shots of the game and went on to clinch home ice in the first round of the BCIHL playoffs.

STORYLINE: The Saints look to capture their third title in as many years, a rare feat for any franchise. Battling through many injuries and inconsistent play early on this season, the Saints have won six of their last eight games and are the hottest team heading into the playoffs. Rookie Vikes forwards Carsen Willans and Linden Horswill return to the Kootenays for their first BCIHL playoff action. Both are Nelson residents who used to play for their hometown Leafs in the KIJHL.

SAINTS KEY PLAYERS: Logan Proulx (28 points), Ryan Edwards (33 points), and Darnell Dyck (36 points) all sit in the top ten in league scoring. The line has proven to be a threat to score every shift and is the nucleus to the recent explosive Saints offense that we are all used to. The Saints also have six healthy veteran defencemen who were all part of the 2014 championship team. Goaltender James Prigione led the BCIHL in goals against average (2.33).

VIKES KEY PLAYERS: Adam Klein led the team in goals (17) and points (30). Other key veteran forwards include former BCIHL all-star Shawn Mueller (26 points) and Evan Warner (26 points). There is no question the Vikes are a talented, hard-working, offensive team but allowed 106 goals in the regular season to finish second to last in this category. Dylan Hykawy led the BCIHL in goals by a defenceman with 10 and is a big threat to score from the point.

SCHEDULE

Game 1 – 8 p.m. Friday

Game 2 – 7 p.m. Saturday

Game 3 – 5:30 p.m. Sunday, if necessary

All games are at the Castlegar rec complex.