LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Spartans men’s hockey team (6-6-1) will host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack (10-2-0) Friday at 7:00 p.m. The Spartans are coming off a pair of wins two weeks ago over TRU (2-1) and Selkirk (3-2) and will be seeking their first three-game winning streak of the BCIHL season.

SPARTANS (6-6-1)
BCIHL Standing: 5th
Last Game: Selkirk 3-2 W
Streak: 2 Wins
2009-10 BCIHL record (as Titans): 10-12-2 (5th)
2009-10 BCIHL playoffs (as Titans): 1-2 (4th)
Last BCIHL title: N/A

The Spartans enter Friday’s tilt against Thompson Rivers winners of four of their last five regular season contests and will be looking to move above the .500 mark for the first time since their season opening win against Fraser Valley.

The last time the Spartans played, two weeks ago, they came out on top, winning both home games against TRU and Selkirk.

Trinity Western handed the WolfPack only its second loss of the season with a 2-1 victory Friday night and then followed that up with a tighter than expected 3-2 win over Selkirk.

Despite the pair of wins, the Spartans are still six points back of both Okanagan (9-4-1) and Victoria (9-4-1) for that fourth and final playoff position.

The key for the Spartans of late has been solid defence as they have only allowed five goals combined in their last four wins. The only blemish on their record in TWU’s last five games was a 4-2 loss to Victoria in the Spartans last game before the Christmas break.

Although TWU has started to pick up the wins in recent games, the Spartans are still struggling to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis. In their last four games, TWU has only nine goals and if the Spartans hope to continue their winning ways, especially against TRU, they’ll have to improve the offence.

Positively speaking, the Spartans seem to be finally getting some secondary scoring as Trevor Edwards has three goals in his last two games, with Sam Gemmell and Benton Nickel each scored singles last weekend.

Now the key will be to put it all together and get scoring from a variety of areas while maintaing quality defence.

Robert Vos continues to lead the team with seven goals and five assists in 13 games.

Expect new goalie Tim Zweirs to get his first start in Spartans colours.

WOLFPACK (10-2-0)
BCIHL Standing: 2nd
Last Game: Fraser Valley 4-1 W
Streak: 1 Win
2009-10 BCIHL record: 16-8-0 (2nd)
2009-10 BCIHL playoffs: 2-1 (3rd)
Last BCIHL title: N/A

The last time Thompson Rivers came to the Langley Events Centre, two weeks ago, the WolfPack lost 2-1 to the Spartans, dropping just its second game of the season.

Last weekend, TRU got back in the win column with a 4-1 decision over Fraser Valley and with a win Friday against TWU would move into sole possession of first place in the BCIHL, jumping over idle Simon Fraser.

Both of the WolfPack’s losses this year have been by a 2-1 score, so the key for TRU to win is simple. Score two or more goals and they’ll win. Or at least that’s been the case thus far this season.

The WolfPack has scored a league-high 5.50 goals for per game while allowing a league-low 2.20 goals against per game.

But, like last game against TWU, leading scorer Jassi Sangha won’t be playing as he will sit out the third game of a four-game suspension he received after an altercation in a Nov. 26 match against UFV.

The WolfPack will have Tyler Halliday and Jose Reyes back in the lineup to play TWU as the last time the two teams faced each other Halliday and Reyes were serving one-game suspensions from that same Nov. 26 game.

After Sangha, TRU is led by David Gore with 17 points, Lucas Daoust with 15 and Halliday with 14. Defenceman Darcy Huisman is third in the league amongst blueliners with one goal and 11 assists in 12 games.

In goal, the WolfPack continue to use a three-man system. Against TWU, Riley Wall was in net with Richard Virtanen on the bench, while TRU’s most recent outing saw Virtanen start with Anthony Manfredi backing up. Virtanen is the statistical leader with five wins in five games, a 1.80 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.



Last Updated: 2011-01-20
Author: Mark Janzen