Simon Fraser Runs by Western Washington in Season Opener

BURNABY, BC -- Simon Fraser opened the 2010 regular season on Saturday, February 6 with a convincing 18-3 win over regional PNCLL Division II opponent Western Washington. With the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games less than a week away, the Clan and Vikings squared off in surprisingly spring like conditions (11C/52F and sunny), as approximately 150 fans gathered at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West in Burnaby, British Columbia.

The Clan were led by senior midfield Russel Thomas (Nanoose Bay, BC / Ballenas Secondary) with 5 goals and 1 assist and senior attack Adam Foss (Cochrane, AB / Cochrane High School) with 3 goals and 3 assists. The victory marked SFU's sixth consecutive win, in six season openers under current Co-Head Coaches Jeff Cathrea and Brent Hoskins.

SFU was forced to be patient early in the contest as Western Washington was able to settle the ball off of the game's opening face-off and establish a lengthy first possession. Denying the Vikings of any opportunities, Fraser was able to gain possession after approximately two minutes of play, only to give the ball back to the WWU on a forced pass. It would not take the Clan long to settle the play back in their favor and SFU would use the game's first man-up opportunity to take a 1-0 lead as Kevin Riley (Coquitlam, BC / Gleneagle Secondary) assisted on a goal by Ben Towner (Port Coquitlam, BC / Terry Fox Secondary).

Towner, the MCLA leader in goals-per-game in 2009, would be quick to strike again, this time on a feed from Foss to make the score 2-0. Continuing their strong offensive play, Western would finally solve the Fraser defense as William Delius (Bainbridge Island, WA / Bainbridge High School) fed an open Kian Farahani (Lake Sammamish, WA / Skyline High School) to capitalize on a Clan breakdown and close the score at 2-1.

Immediately following the Viking goal, the officials would conduct a random stick check and the SFU short stick defender was found to be using an illegal stick (under 40"). The Clan received a three-minute un-releasable penalty and Western appeared poised to cash-in on the man-advantage. Fraser's man-down unit came out strong, stretching the Viking extra-man offense to the perimeter of the box and limiting any potential shooting opportunities.

The Clan would eventually force a WWU turnover and kill off the remaining time left in the penalty. The "kill" would seemingly shift the momentum back in SFU's favor and Fraser's transitional play would prove to be too much for the Vikings. The Clan would open up a four-goal lead as Foss, Thomas and Chris Tessarolo (New Westminster, BC / New Westminster Secondary) each scored their first of the season to end the first quarter at a score of 5-1.

Junior, Dean Stewart (Duncan, BC / Claremont Secondary) got the start for the Clan in goal. Mainly untested in the first quarter, Stewart would play the opening 15:00 minutes, making 1 save.

Fraser would once again open the scoring to start the second frame, as Foss scored his second of the day on a feed from junior Bryan Scott (Guelph, ON / John F. Ross Collegiate) who rotated in on attack to begin the quarter. With SFU now controlling the play, freshmen Stu Mills (Campbell River, BC / Timberline Secondary) scored the first goal of his collegiate career to make the score 7-1. Thomas would then score his second of the day to end the first half with a score of 8-1.

Fraser would register 13 shots in both the first and second quarters for a first half total of 26. Despite allowing 8 goals against, Western goaltender Ian LaBelle (Lake Sammamish, WA / Skyline High School) was impressive in the Viking net making several quality saves to hold the Clan shooters at bay and keep the score within reason. Labelle, a junior, played the opening 30:00 minutes for WWU, making 11 saves in total. Senior goaltender Mike Ripley (Saskatoon, SK / E.D. Feehan High School) stepped-in to replace Stewart for the Clan, playing all 15:00 minutes of the second quarter.

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