Former Leafs Willans, Horswill lead Vikes against Saints in crucial pre-Christmas series
The Selkirk College Saints will be shooting for a strong finish to the first half of the season this weekend when they take on the University of Victoria Vikes at the Castlegar Recreation Centre.
The defending British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) champions are getting set to head into the Christmas break and currently sit six points behind the first place Trinity Western University Spartans.
Challenged by an unusual amount of injuries and struggles on the road, the Saints are eager to get regain the top ranking they’ve become accustomed to over the past two seasons.
“There is so much parody in our league this season,” says Saints head coach Alex Evin.
“Each weekend the standings change, so it makes each game important. One winless weekend in the Lower Mainland put us from second place to fourth place. Our players realize that we must play a full focused weekend or we will be left behind. We have had some great games in our home rink so far this season and I expect that to continue this weekend.”
The Vikes, with two former Nelson Leafs — Carsen Willans and Linden Horswill — on the roster come to town after recently splitting a pair of games with the Simon Fraser University Clan.
Sitting in second place and led by four-year veteran Adam Klein (22 points in 12 games), the Victoria are a much improved team after missing the playoffs last year.
Willans currently is fifth in team scoring with (two goals, seven assists) nine points while Horswill is ninth with one goal and six assists.
The Saints on the other hand are still reeling from a disappointing road trip to Vancouver earlier this month that resulted in 4-0 and 1-0 losses at the hands of the Spartans and the Clan respectively.
“We didn’t bear down enough on our chances,” says Evin.
“The goaltending was great for both teams in each of the games, including ours, but we ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Our goal scorers need to step up and provide us with timely goals when our other lines are not chipping in. It is a team game and we all need to find our scoring touch again.”
A real bright spot this season has been the play of second year goaltender James Prigione, who currently leads the BCIHL with a goals against average of 2.30, while posting a save percentage of .910.
“James has come into this season focused, in shape, and ready to play the bulk of the games,” says Evin.
“So far he’s done everything I knew he was capable of and I hope our players can provide him with a few more goals, especially after being shutout twice when our goaltender was very solid.”
This weekend the Saints hope to rekindle their offence led by veterans Darnell Dyck (13 points in 11 games) and Logan Proulx (11 points in 11 games). The Saints are currently unbeaten in 29 regular season and playoff games.
The games this weekend are Saturday (November 29) at 7 p.m. and Sunday (November 30) at noon. All Saints home games are played at the Castlegar and District Community Centre.
SAINTS NOTES: The Saints will be without key forwards Thomas Hardy (back) and Jesse Knowler (leg) for the remainder of the semester. As well Ryan Procyshyn (broken ankle) and Jamie Vlanich (knee surgery), both who have yet to suit up in the regular season, will have to wait till January to see their first action.