Saints Hockey Begins Season

It was opening weekend for the Saint’s Bantam Prep hockey program, as they welcomed two divisional rivals to Thunderbird Arena over the weekend. This year the bantam prep squad is coached by former NHL players the Santorelli Brothers, as well as Mike Nardi and Mike Anderson. The name Santorelli may sound familiar to many hockey fans in Vancouver, and that is because Mike Santorelli played a key role in the Canucks team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

In the first game of the weekend, Saints faced the Yale Hockey academy. It was St.George’s   first regular season game and that was clear throughout the matchup. Although Yale already had already played a game, they did not look any more prepared than Saint’s did. Neither team was able to take a stranglehold on the game at any point, however Saint’s came away with the 4-2 win at the end of the day. Both Thomas Tien and Markus Yim had two point nights, scoring their first goals for St.George’s in the process.


After their opening win, it was back to back games for the red and white as they took on the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in the second game of the weekend. Jaiden Sharma was making his regular season debut in net, while Dryden Demelo was his counterpart for PCHA.


The opening minutes didn’t have much excitement for either side, as both teams began to settle into sunday mornings affair. Saints did get an early powerplay on a tripping penalty to PCHA’s Jackson Krill, but their powerplay failed to get any chances. The first chance of the day would be the first goal as well, PCHA broke the deadlock with a powerplay goal from Mason Crouch 10 minutes into the period. A well worked cycle finished with scramble in front of the net where Crouch was able to shovel it past Saint’s goaltender Jaiden Sharma. PCHA would get a second power play in the period, this time Saints was able to keep the door shut. In the final two minutes of the period the home team would get a 1:30 two-man advantage, but again failed to score. Despite out shooting PCHA 15-10, Saints trailed by a goal heading into the second.

The home team came out with much more pace in the second period, immediately controlling the puck in the offensive zone. Bennet Gaglardi  collected the puck at the blueline and sent it to the stick of Connor Levis who fired a first time slapshot which sailed over the glove of Demelo only 50 seconds into the period.  Five minutes later Saints would get the lead for the first time in the game with their inaugural power play goal of the season. On the other side of their special teams, Saints continued to struggle. Blake Cotton’s tripping penalty allowed the PCHA powerplay to get back to work and find the 2-2 goal 9:30 into the period. The power play continued to be successful for Saints in the period as Levis got his second goal of the night on the man advantage to restore their lead. After starting the period with a goal, it was only right for Saint’s to end it with one as well. William Yee’s last second shot from the blueline nestled into the netting to give Saint’s a two goal lead heading into the third.  Saints completely turned the game around in the second, and finished the period with double the shots of their opponent.


The beginning of the third period was quite dull, but Saint’s made it a little more exciting seven minutes in. A two on one rush resulted in a beautiful goal from Andrew Cristall, with Cameron Johnson collecting the only assist after a series of immaculate tape-to-tape passes. The 5-2 goal would be the last piece of action in the game as St. George’s cruised to their second win of the weekend.


After going two for two on their home opening weekend the Saint’s Bantam prep team will now go on to face Delta Hockey Academy “Green” next Sunday in CSSHL week two action at UBC Thunderbird Arena. Puck drop for that game is set for 10:30am.