MEN’S HOCKEY HOSTS TRU SATURDAY AFTERNOON

MEN’S HOCKEY (BCIHL)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2013
WEEKEND PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEN’S HOCKEY HOSTS TRU SATURDAY AFTERNOON

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team (4-13-0-1) will look to get back in the win column this Saturday when it hosts Thompson Rivers (7-8-0-2) at the Langley Events Centre in the Spartans second to last home game of the regular season.

The game is at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live at www.fasthockey.com.

Coming off a weekend split with Victoria, in which TWU won 4-2 before falling 7-0, the Spartans chances of earning a playoff spot sit perilously in the balance. With six games remaining, TWU is six points behind fourth-place Victoria, who currently holds down the final playoff position, and seven points behind third-place TRU. With still two games against second-place Simon Fraser, this Saturday’s game is all but a must win.

The Spartans and WolfPack have played three times this year with TRU winning 8-6 and 5-2 but, most recently, it was TWU winning 6-4. The last time they played, the Spartans opened a 5-0 lead midway through the second period before hanging on for the 6-4 win.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (4-13-0-1)
BCIHL position: 6th
Last weekend:  Victoria 4-2 W, 7-0 L
Streak: 1 loss
2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 4-15-5, 6th
2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Last weekend’s series with Victoria got off to a promising start as the Spartans earned a 4-2 win Friday night and found themselves just four points out of a playoff spot. However, with the chance to close that gap to two points, TWU faltered, losing 7-0 to the Vikes and, in doing so, the Spartans once again fell to six points behind Victoria.

Last weekend was yet another example of the Spartans inability to put together consistent efforts on back-to-back nights. Through 18 games, TWU has only managed one two-game winning streak and is still in search of its first weekend sweep. If the Spartans are to make a run at a playoff spot, starting with this weekend, consistent efforts the rest of the way will be imperative.

On the bright side, since starting the season with 10 straight losses, the Spartans have gone 4-4 in their last eight and haven’t lost more than two in a row over that span.  

However, as a team, last weekend’s combined four goals dropped the Spartans goals per game average to a league-low 2.72. Over the last five games, TWU has scored just 10 goals and improving that will certainly be a point of emphasis this Saturday.

Defensively, the nine goals TWU allowed over the two contests improved its goals against average to 5.00 (5th in the BCIHL).

On special teams, TWU is fifth in the league in both power play, at 13.9 per cent, and penalty kill, at 78.2 per cent. At home the penalty kill is marginally better, at 78.6 per cent, but the power play is marginally worse, at 12.7 per cent.

Individually, the Spartans continue to have a balanced attack as 13 players have at least two goals and only Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.), who has nine goals, has more than four. Jamie Russell (Surrey, B.C.), Matt Chaput (Seaforth, Ont.) and Trevor Beaupre (New Westminster, B.C.) are all tied for second on the team with four goals.

In the crease, expect Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) to get the start as he’s back from an injury that kept him out for all of January. Fredeman and Tim Zwiers (Williams Lake, B.C.) have both played 11 games this year and have each won twice. Fredeman has a 4.74 goals against average while Zwiers is at 5.28.

THOMPSON RIVERS WOLFPACK (7-8-0-2)
BCIHL position: 3rd
Last weekend: Selkirk 5-4OT L
Streak: 1 loss
2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 12-8-4, 3rd
2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: 1-2, 4th
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Something seemed to happen midway through Thompson Rivers’ last game against Trinity Western. Trailing 5-0 partway through the second period, the WolfPack suddenly found its legs and its offence. Thompson Rivers scored four straight goals and rallied to make it a game before ultimately coming up just short, falling 6-4.

Since then, the WolfPack has gone 3-0-0-1, with its only loss coming against league-leading Selkirk in overtime, and in the process has outscored its opposition 23-9. Add it up, and since trailing TWU 5-0, TRU, in the last 270:37, has scored 27 goals while allowing just 10. Anything near that pace this weekend and the WolfPack will be in good shape to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since late-November.

With its recent surge, the WolfPack has moved into third place in the BCIHL and still possesses a game in hand on all three of the teams behind it. With second place all but out of reach – TRU is 11 points behind Simon Fraser with seven games remaining – and first place mathematically beyond the WolfPack’s grasp, TRU’s most realistic goal is securing third place. A win this weekend would go a long way to doing just that.

Through 17 games, TRU is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to both offence and defence. The WolfPack has scored 4.06 goals for per game (3rd in the BCIHL) while giving up 5.00 goals against per game (4th).

The WolfPack’s lack of consistent success can largely be attributed to its poor special teams play. Thompson Rivers is last in the BCIHL in both power play percentage, scoring at a rate of 12.5 per cent, and penalty kill percentage, killing penalties at a rate of just 64.5 per cent.

Individually, Alessio Tomassetti is leading the WolfPack in scoring with 11 goals and 16 assists while Colten DeFrias is second on the team with 11 goals and 12 assists.

Goaltender Shane Mainprize has carried the bulk of the load in the crease this year for TRU and he has a 4.56 goals against average and a .873 save percentage through 12 games. Mainprize was in net against TWU in TRU’s 8-6 win and 6-4 loss while Riley Wall was between the pipes in the WolfPack’s 5-2 win.

-TW-

Last Updated: 2013-02-07
Author: Mark Janzen