MEN’S HOCKEY HOSTS THOMPSON RIVERS, EASTERN WASHINGTON

MEN’S HOCKEY
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2013
WEEKEND PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEN’S HOCKEY HOSTS THOMPSON RIVERS, EASTERN WASHINGTON

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Following three straight losses to Selkirk, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team has its sights set on bumping its slump this weekend when it hosts Thompson Rivers Friday at 7 p.m. and Eastern Washington Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

The games will be streamed live at http://bcihl.fasthockey.com/.  

Since starting the season with five wins in their first six games, the Spartans have fallen on tough times thanks to a difficult three-game spurt that saw them take on league-leading Selkirk three times in eight days.

The last time TWU played EWU, the Spartans rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in a shootout, and the last time the Spartans faced TRU, it was TWU also winning 4-3. The Spartans are 2-1 against EWU this year and 1-0 against TRU. Last year, TWU was 1-3 against both the Eagles and the WolfPack.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (5-4)
BCIHL Standings: 3rd (tied)
Last weekend: Selkirk 6-0, L; 8-2, L
Streak: 3 losses
2012-2013 BCIHL Record: 6-16-0-2, 6th
2012-2013 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Entering the season, the Spartans coaching staff was well aware of the perils their November schedule could bring. Of their eight games in November, five would come against either Selkirk – the defending BCIHL champions – or Simon Fraser – last year’s league championship finalist. After beating EWU in a shootout to open the month, the Spartans indeed succumbed to their tough schedule as they were outscored 20-3 over their three losses to the Saints.

With Selkirk and SFU looking like the early-season contenders for first place in the regular season, this weekend will go a long way to determining if the Spartans can emerge as the leading candidate for what will likely be a battle for third place. With EWU right behind the Spartans and Thompson Rivers just two points ahead, a pair of wins this weekend would vault TWU into second place.

While goalie Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) was the victim of facing a potent Selkirk attack, the BCIHL Goaltender of the Month for October is still the Spartans go-to man. Frankly, if not for Fredeman, the boxscores against the Saints could have been worse. Look for Fredeman to bounce back this weekend as he has yet to allow a goal in 80 minutes played against EWU this year and he gave up just three goals in TWU’s season-opening 4-3 win over TRU.

Up front, first-year JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.) continues to be the Spartans offensive catalyst. With five goals and six assists in nine games, Villeneuve has nearly twice as many points as his nearest teammate. The trio of Cody Stephenson (Aldergrove, B.C.), Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.) and Mattias Schmitt (Surrey, B.C.) each have five points.

While the Spartans enter the weekend still one game above .500, TWU’s special teams still have yet to find their stride. On the power play, the Spartans are scoring just 11.1 per cent of the time and shorthanded they’re working at 77.3 per cent. Both rank fifth in the BCIHL.

THOMPSON RIVERS WOLFPACK (6-4)
BCIHL Standings: 2nd
Last weekend: EWU 6-1, W; 9-2, W
Streak: 4 wins
2012-2013 Record: 10-11-0-3, 3rd
2012-2013 BCIHL Playoffs: 0-2
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Since a 5-1 loss to Selkirk Oct. 19, the WolfPack hasn’t lost. In TRU’s subsequent four games, the WolfPack has outscored its opposition 24-8, which includes wins over Selkirk, Victoria and two over Eastern Washington.

While a 4-3 win over winless Victoria doesn’t do much for the WolfPack resume, a 5-1 win over Selkirk and 6-1 and 9-2 victories over EWU indeed does a whole lot more to impress.

After SFU and Selkirk, Thompson Rivers finished third in the BCIHL standings last year but with a win over the Saints already in the bag, the WolfPack is aiming to break into the top two this season. A win over TWU would certainly help TRU keep within striking distance of the first-place Saints.

Joshua MacDonald leads the team in scoring through 10 games as he has 11 goals and 10 assists. His 21 points surpasses his season totals from each of the past two years. Just two points behind MacDonald is Duncan Schultz, who has seven goals and 12 assists in just eight games. Both Schultz and MacDonald are coming off five-point nights against EWU.

Thompson Rivers’ power play sits at 18.4 per cent (4th in the BCIHL) while its penalty kill is last in the league, at 73.5 per cent.

EASTERN WASHINGTON EAGLES (2-4-0-1)
BCIHL Standings: 5th
Last weekend: TRU 6-1, L; 9-2, L
Streak: 4 losses
2012-2013 Record: 9-14-0-1, 5th
2012-2013 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Ever since beating TWU by a 5-3 count on Oct. 18, the Eagles have struggled. In four BCIHL games since, EWU has lost all four and has been outscored 23-6, which includes two losses to TWU and two against TRU.

Fortunately for team confidence entering this weekend, the Eagles most recent loss to TWU came in a shootout in which EWU, at one point, held a 3-0 lead. If the Eagles can harness the energy they showed early on in the shootout loss to TWU, this Friday’s tilt could well be the spark they need to get their season back on track.

Last year’s leading scorer Uriah Machuga, who finished with 15 goals and 15 assists in 24 games, is once again leading the Eagles offensively. Through seven games, he has four goals and five assists. First-year Paxton Bell is second on the team with three goals and four assists while defenceman Zach Maxwell has one goal and six assists.

One particular bright spot for EWU has been the success of its power play. The Eagles have tallied 25 goals with the man-advantage and are scoring at a rate of 20.2 per cent.

-TW-

Last Updated: 2013-11-13
Author: Mark Janzen

Upcoming

DateGameTime
Mh10-11SELKIRK*19:00:00
Mh10-17SIMON FRASER*19:00:00
Mh10-18@Simon Fraser*19:00:00
Mh10-24SELKIRK*19:00:00
Mh10-25VICTORIA*13:00:00
Mh10-31VICTORIA*19:00:00
Mh11-14SELKIRK*19:00:00
Mh11-21@Eastern Washington*19:00:00
Mh11-22@Eastern Washington*19:00:00
Mh11-29@Simon Fraser*19:00:00
Mh12-05EASTERN WASHINGTON*19:00:00
Mh01-09@Selkirk*19:00:00
Mh01-10@Selkirk*19:00:00
Mh01-16SIMON FRASER*19:00:00
Mh01-22SIMON FRASER*19:00:00
Mh01-23VICTORIA*19:00:00
Mh01-30EASTERN WASHINGTON*19:00:00
Mh02-06@Victoria19:30:00
Mh02-07@Victoria12:30:00
Mh02-14@Simon Fraser*19:00:00

Our Scores

DateGameRS
Mh10-05@Minnesota MankatoL12-1
Mh10-04@St. Cloud StateL8-0
Mh09-27@Victoria*L4-3
Mh09-26@Victoria*W9-3
Mh09-20Eastern Washington (Castlegar, B.C.)L5-2
Mh09-19@Selkirk (Trail, B.C.)L9-0
Mh09-12SIMON FRASERW4-3
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