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MEN’S HOCKEY (BCIHL PLAYOFFS)
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011
VICTORIA (9) TRINITY WESTERN (3)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPARTANS THUMPED BY VICTORIA IN FIRST PLAYOFF GAME
BURNABY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team suffered a 9-3 loss to Victoria in its first game of the BCIHL playoffs Wednesday at the Burnaby Winter Club and is now on the brink of post-season elimination.
Despite a strong opening five minutes for the Spartans, one in which they outshot Victoria 10-0, it was the Vikes getting the first goal of the game and then proceeding to exploded for six more, five of which came on the power play against a Spartans penalty kill that worked at 87.5 per cent during the season, as they eventually rolled to the six-goal victory.
After finding themselves down 7-0 through the second period, TWU fought back with a pair of goals from Josh Stephenson and Benton Nickel but it was simply far too large of a hole to climb out from.
“If guys don’t want to do their job or execute, you get what you get,” said TWU coach Dwayne Lowdermilk. “We’ve preached all year to just shoot the puck and get it on net. We had 11 shots before the game was eight minutes old and we ended the period with 13. We drive and push and push and then we stop. And you see in the second period, we get two fluky goals just because we put it on net.”
The Spartans will play Thursday, Mar. 24, at 4:30 p.m. at BWC against Okanagan. The Spartans now will need to win four games in four days to win this year’s BCIHL playoffs. A loss Thursday ends the Spartans season.
Victoria was led by Mark Prest, who had a goal and four assists, and Matt Schultz and Steven Little, who each had two goals. Four other Vikes had multi-point efforts.
For the Spartans, Brandon Long and Sam Gemmell each had two assists while Josh Stephenson, Benton Nickel and Scott Holmes scored the goals.
With the Spartans applying all of the pressure in the early stages, Victoria took a pair of penalties in the opening few minutes, which gave TWU a 5-on-3 power play advantage just over three minutes into the contest.
But the Spartans couldn’t capitalize. And that’s when the game’s momentum completely shifted to Victoria.
With the Vancouver Island squad on a power play of its own, Victoria got the first goal of the game at 6:04 of the first period on a scramble off of a rebound in front of the net that Victoria’s Schultz was the last to touch as the puck slid across the line with Spartans goalie J.P. Chapman out of position and unable to recover.
From there, Victoria kept pushing. And, again on the power play, the Vikes were rewarded for its efforts, going up 2-0 midway through the period. With the Spartans Brendan Stephen breaking his stick on a clearing attempt and Gemmell losing his lumber in an attempt to give Stephen a stick, the Spartans were down to two sticks on the ice when Victoria’s Schultz found a loose puck in the slot and hammered home his second of the night.
Then with 3:09 left in the period, Victoria went up 3-0 on a long shot from Little that beat Chapman, who then pulled himself from the game and was replaced by Sean Langrieger
In the second period, the Spartans night went from bad to worse as Victoria’s Prest scored an unassisted goal 35 seconds in the middle frame and the route was on.
Trinity Western got itself in penalty trouble and that only helped the Vikes.
On a 5-on-3, Adam Courtnall ripped a shot five-hole on Langrieger to make it 5-0. Matthew Bell buried a rebound on a scramble to make it 6-0 and then Brent Sutherland kept the roll going when he made it 7-0 with 4:29 left in the period.
Stephenson beat Victoria goalie Tim Manuel on a back hand shot short side up stairs to get the Spartans on the board and then shortly after Nickel floated a point shot past Manuel to make it a five-goal game before the second intermission.
In the third, Victoria outscored the Spartans 2-1 to wrap up a dominant effort that sends them into a match against top-ranked Thompson Rivers Thursday at 7:30 at the Bill Copeland Arena.
Game Notes: Victoria outshot TWU 35-25…TWU had 32 penalty minutes while Victoria had 10…TWU was 0 for 5 on the power play while Victoria was 5 for 10…Victoria’s Manuel made 22 saves on 25 shots while TWU’s Langrieger made 22 saves on 28 shots and Chapman made four saves on seven shots.
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