MEN’S HOCKEY HOSTS SIMON FRASER IN FINAL HOME GAME

MEN’S HOCKEY (BCIHL)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
WEEKEND PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEN’S HOCKEY HOSTS SIMON FRASER IN FINAL HOME GAME

LANGLEY, British Columbia – In what will be the Trinity Western men’s hockey team’s final home game of the regular season, the Spartans will host Simon Fraser Friday at 7 p.m. the Langley Events Centre.

The game will be streamed live at www.fasthockey.com.

With five games remaining in their season, the Spartans enter the weekend six points out of a playoff spot, trailing both Eastern Washington and Victoria, who are currently tied for fourth place in the BCIHL standings.

The Spartans are winless in four regular season games against SFU this season, having lost 4-3 and 5-2 on the road and 6-2 and 5-2 at home. Since coming under the Spartans umbrella in 2010, TWU is 1-12-1 against the Clan, including exhibition games. Trinity Western’s lone win was a 3-0 victory at home Feb. 11, 2011.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (4-14-0-1)
BCIHL position: 6th
Last weekend:  Thompson Rivers 7-0 L
Streak: 2 losses
2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 4-15-5, 6th
2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Coming off back-to-back 7-0 losses at home, first to Victoria and most recently to Thompson Rivers, the Spartans are in desperate need of a win in their final home game of the regular season.

However, getting that win over an SFU side that has scored 119 goals thus far and only given up 61 will be a monumental challenge, especially given TWU’s scoring woes of late.

After getting shutout 3-0 by Eastern Washington in their season-opener, the Spartans had managed at least a goal in 16 straight games. But since scoring a goal late in a 4-2 win over Victoria on Feb. 1, the Spartans have been shutout for the last 121:29. Add to that, the fact TWU scored just 10 goals in its four games prior to its shutout losses and the Spartans are averaging just 1.67 goals per game since a 6-4 win over TRU Jan. 11.

For the Spartans, they need to get back to what they were doing prior to their month-long offensive swoon. Through their first 13 games of the year, TWU averaged a tidy 3.0 goals per game.

While the offence hasn’t exactly been flourishing, individually, the Spartans can certainly be commended for a balanced attack. Through 19 games, eight different players have at least three goals, led by Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.), who has a team-high nine. Since Matt Ius (Pitt Meadows, B.C.) joined the Spartans in January, he has been an offensive bright spot, averaging a point per game, which, over the course of a full season, would have him near the top 20 in league scoring.

On the defensive side, the Spartans are also in need of turning things around in a hurry. Over TWU’s last five games, it has allowed 5.4 goals per game.

In net, the Spartans are still hoping the return of Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) from injury will help spark a last gasp push. Since he came back in early February, Fredeman has allowed 15 goals in eight periods, while posting a 1-2-0-0 record.

SIMON FRASER CLAN (15-4-0-1)
BCIHL position: 2nd
Last weekend: Thompson Rivers 7-6SO W, Eastern Washington 5-1 W
Streak: 2 wins
2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 17-2-5, 1st
2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: 2-2, 2nd
Last BCIHL title: 2011

Simon Fraser comes into Friday’s game still holding onto the belief that for first place in the BCIHL is still within its grasp. The Clan has second place locked up – SFU is 11 points clear of third place Thompson Rivers with the WolfPack only having five games left to play – but would desperately like to move into first and avoid an opening round playoff series against a surging TRU side.

The trick for SFU is they’ll likely have to win all of their final four games to give themselves a shot at catching league-leading Selkirk. With the Saints having only lost one game all year – a 2-1 setback against TWU – and still having six games on their schedule, it’ll take a minor miracle for SFU to catch them. But that doesn’t mean the Clan won’t be coming to the Langley Events Centre as hungry as ever to earn a win.

The Clan is coming off a pair of wins over TRU and Eastern Washington last weekend and will look to build its winning streak to three games when it takes on a TWU side SFU has only lost to once in its last 14 outings.

The key to SFU’s success has certainly been its flourishing offence. The Clan has averaged a league best 5.95 goals per game this season, which includes scoring 63 goals in its last 10 games.

While Ben Van Lare hasn’t played a game since Jan. 26, he continues to lead the Clan in scoring with 11 goals and 20 assists in 14 games for a league-leading 2.2 points per game. However, during his absence, SFU hasn’t been short on scorers as players like Nick Sandor, Jono Ceci and Chris Hoe have continued to put up solid numbers.

In net, SFU has cycled through something of a three-goalie system this year, which includes Andrew Parent, Evan Kurylo and Graeme Gordon. While Parent has only played two games all year, both came against TWU, including in SFU’s most recent clash with the Spartans, when Parent allowed two goals on 27 shots to earn a 5-2 win.

-TW-

Last Updated: 2013-02-14
Author: Mark Janzen