LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Spartans men’s hockey team (6-10-1) will host the Simon Fraser Clan (13-3-2) Friday at 7:00 p.m. and the Okanagan Coyotes (13-5-1) Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The Spartans are on a four-game losing streak with its most recent setback being a 4-1 loss to SFU. 

Spartans captain Benton Nickel will be honoured Friday night as a graduating senior.

SPARTANS (6-10-1)
BCIHL Standing: 5th
Last Game: Simon Fraser 4-1 L
Streak: 4 Losses
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 last time the Spartans played a home game they came into the match riding a two-game winning streak, which included a 2-1 win over Thompson Rivers, and were seemingly on a roll and starting to look like a team to watch out for in the second half.

But that was all before their Jan. 21 date with Thompson Rivers. The Spartans lost that game 6-2 and followed that up with three straight road losses and now return to the Langley Events Centre on a four-game losing skid and 10 points behind fourth-place Victoria.

Last weekend, the Spartans had just one game, a 4-1 loss to Simon Fraser, as their road matchup with Fraser Valley was cancelled.
So with that same Clan team in town this Friday, followed by Okanagan Saturday afternoon, the Spartans are hoping a little

home-cooking will get them back in the win column.

In their current four-game slide, the Spartans have been outscored 23-10 and were only able to muster a single goal in their last meeting with SFU. Although against the Clan one goal has been all the Spartans have managed in each of their three meetings.

Trinity Western is now averaging 2.90 goals for per game (5th in the BCIHL) and 3.60 goals against per game (5th).

Leading scorer Robert Vos, who had 12 points in the first nine games of the year, has completely dried up as he doesn’t have a single point since a three-point effort on Nov. 27. Rookie Brandon Long is now tied with Vos for the team lead with 12 points himself but has been collecting them more regularly of late as he has four points in his last three games.

After Vos and Long, it’s Nathan Wiebe with 10 points and Ian Spencer with nine.

In goal, the duties have been shared by John-Paul Chapman, Sean Langrieger and Tim Zwiers with Chapman getting the bulk of the load having played in 13 games this year and posting a 3.29 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.

CLAN (13-3-2)
BCIHL Standing: 1st
Last Game: Trinity Western 4-1 W
Streak: 2 Wins
2009-10 BCIHL record: 17-4-2 (1st)
2009-10 BCIHL playoffs: 3-1 (1st)
Last BCIHL title: 2010

Simon Fraser comes into this weekend’s tilt with Trinity Western on a 12-game regular season unbeaten streak, which after a 3-3-0 start to the season, has vaulted the Clan into first place, one point ahead of Thompson Rivers.

The Clan has beat Trinity Western three times this year and in each game held the Spartans to just one goal. In the first game Oct. 22 it was 5-1, the second game Oct. 30 was 3-1 and most recently on Feb. 5 it was 4-1.

In the most recent win over TWU, the Clan utilized a sizable advantage in power play opportunities, scoring two goals on nine chances to seal the victory.

The Clan is averaging 5.00 goals per game (2nd in the BCIHL) while only giving up 2.40 goals per game (2nd). The team also has the best penalty-kill in the league as they are working at an efficiency of 91.7 per cent. Despite having been shorthanded second most, 132 times, SFU has given up only 11 goals when down a man, the fewest in the league.

Their power play is a respectable 19.35 per cent (3rd) as they have 24 goals on 124 opportunities.

Simon Fraser has a deep attack as they have six players with more than 20 points this year and nine players with 14 or more points. Jaime Laprise leads the team with 28 points (11 goals and 17 assists) while Colby Kulhanek is second with 25 (11 goals and 14 assists).

Goalie Justin Mulholland has got the majority of the playing time between the pipes as he’s played in 12 games and has a 2.76 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.

But while Mulholland has been the busiest of the three netminders, goalies Evan Kurylo and Andrew Parent have seen action against the lower ranked teams and are 4-0-0 and 2-0-0 respectively. Kurylo earned two of the wins over TWU, including the most recent 4-1 win last Saturday.

COYOTES (13-5-1)
BCIHL Standing: 3rd
Last Game: Fraser Valley 9-2 W
Streak: 1 Win
2009-10 BCIHL record: 11-11-2 (4th)
2009-10 BCIHL playoffs: 2-2 (3rd)
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Okanagan College comes to Langley looking to complete a four-game season sweep of the Spartans with a win Saturday afternoon.
In the Coyotes first three games against TWU, they outscored the Spartans 15-5 and in the last game, Okanagan won by an 8-3 count.

The Coyotes will also enter Saturday’s tilt winners of four of their last five games, with the only loss being a 4-3 setback against Simon Fraser. And with 27 points in 19 games, the Coyotes are also very much in the thick of the race for first place.

So far this year, Okanagan has averaged 4.10 goals for per game (3rd in the BCIHL) and 2.60 goals against per game (4th in the BCIHL). In their last four wins the Coyotes have feasted on the league’s bottom three teams, outscoring them 29-6 in that span.

The Coyotes are currently second in the BCIHL in power play efficiency as they are scoring on 19.47 per cent of their opportunities and, on the road, are even better at 21.88 per cent. Their penalty-kill is fifth in the league at 82.29 per cent.

Forward Brock Munro is leading the team in scoring, and is second in the BCIHL, with 31 points in 19 games. After Munro, the Coyotes are led by Sasha Golin with 22 points and Aaron Buat with 21 points.

Defencemen Dave Mann, with 15 points, and Kolby Barnstable, with 11 points, are leading the offence from the back end.

In the crease, it’s been Adam Butler who has taken the reins as he has now played in 13 of the team’s 19 games and is leading all goaltenders who have played at least 10 games with a goals against average of 2.35 and a save percentage of .925. Back-up Sunny Gill has seen action in two games this year but both have been recent wins over Fraser Valley.


Last Updated: 2011-02-10
Author: Mark Janzen