The Selkirk Saints began their seven-game preseason schedule on Friday, Sept. 13, taking both games against the Fort McMurray-based Keyano College Huskies.
The first game in Nelson on Friday was a high-scoring affair that ended at 7- 6 with Dylan Smith providing the overtime winner.
Kim Verigin, Selkirk College athletic director said the game never should have gone to overtime and he felt the Saints were in control most of the night.
The facts bear Verigin out; though Keyano got off two shots in the first 15 seconds (neither went in), the Saints were up by two goals twice in the game and never got behind. The Huskies, however, fought back and tied the game with 12 seconds in regulation.
Cody Fidgett and Stefan Gonzales each scored twice, while Darnell Dyck and Scott Swiston added goals of their own. Former Major Junior product Scott Sandercock led the way offensively for Keyano College with a goal and four assists.
On Saturday, the two teams clashed again in Castlegar, in a somewhat surprisingly hard-fought tilt considering the two will never see each other in the regular season.
The Saints got the first goal of the game at 5:40 on the power play with all kinds of pressure being applied to Keyano net-minder Jeff Puddephatt, who faced more than 30 shots from the Selkirk squad.
Late in the first, it appeared an errant stick during a scrum along the boards caught Keyano’s Tom Fitzpatrick above the left eye, leaving a trail of blood down his face. He appeared to appeal to the referee for more than the two-minute minor that resulted on the play but was unsuccessful.
Scott Sandercock tied it up with about three minutes left to play in the first but the Alberta skaters had trouble staying out of the box and the Saints started the second on the power play. A quick breakaway from #71-Cody Fidgett, near the halfway mark of the middle frame, gave the Saints what would prove to be the game winner. Fidgett added another for good measure with just 3:40 to play in the period.
There was no scoring in the third from either side but plenty of penalties. Puddephatt did what he could to keep his team in it but the Saints defence kept shutting Keyano down.
“Keyano College came as advertised,” said Saints head coach Jeff Dubois in a release. “They were big, physical and worked very hard right through the line-up. We let things get away from us defensively on Friday night and were very pleased with how the guys responded on Saturday. We never trailed in either game and the work ethic and energy were both at a high level, so overall we’re very pleased with the results.”
James Prigione was in net for the Saints on Friday, while Aaron Oakley saw a victory in his college hockey debut on Saturday.
The Saints move on to a three-game road trip in Edmonton, taking on Concordia University, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Grant McEwan University.
The Saints final preseason games will be against Trinity Western University on Friday, September 27 (7:30 p.m. in Nelson) and Saturday, Sept. 28 (7:30 p.m. in Castlegar). The regular season will begin Friday, October 4 with a banner raising at the Castlegar Complex.
General admission tickets for both games will be available at the door for $5.
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