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MEN’S HOCKEY (BCIHL PLAYOFFS)
THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2011
TRINITY WESTERN (4) OKANAGAN (3)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPARTANS LIVE TO SEE ANOTHER DAY
BURNABY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team took the first step towards a BCIHL championship with a 4-3 win over the Okanagan Coyotes Thursday at the Burnaby Winter Club.
After losing to Victoria 9-3 Wednesday and getting relegated to a do or die game against the Coyotes, the Spartans, having been told by coach Dwayne Lowdermilk in a pre-game speech to go out and “extend [senior] Benton Nickel’s season,” came out with a jump in their step and were a completely different team than the one that played Wednesday.
Although Okanagan score the first goal, after that the Spartans scored the next three goals to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission and an advantage they would never relinquish. While the Coyotes fought back for the next two periods – albeit largely shorthanded in the second period – and ended up outshooting TWU 40-31 by the end the game, they were never able to tie the game and saw their season come to an end.
The Spartans were led by Trevor Edwards, who had two goals and goalie Tim Zwiers, who made 37 saves on 40 shots to guide TWU to its first win since Feb. 18.
“Today we just preached to the guys that we should just have fun,” said TWU assistant coach Kevin Ratcliffe. “Let’s just get back to why we want to play hockey and that’s because we love the game and it’s a fun game. That’s what we did. We came out, gave up the first goal but then we came back and fought hard the whole game. When you play desperate hockey, that’s what happens.”
The Spartans, who were in the exact same situation last year – having lost the first game and won the second – will now play Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre against the loser of Thursday’s second game between Thompson Rivers and Victoria and are now two wins away from the championship game.
The Coyotes got on the board first when, while on the power play, Sasha Golin centered a pass from behind the net that, but instead of finding a teammate, the puck took a fortunate deflection off the stick of Spartans defenceman Aaron Heggie and slipped right through the legs of TWU goalie Tim Zwiers. Craig Materi and Kyle Fraser assisted on the goal.
But, unlike Wednesday’s game when TWU collapsed after the first goal, this time the Spartans responded right away.
After the Coyotes coughed up the puck in their own zone thanks to some pressure from Matt Chaput, Trevor Beaupre pounced on the loose puck, spun around, whipped a shot on goal and, while the initial attempt was stopped by Okanagan goalie Sunny Gill, Edwards swatted the rebound out of the air from just outside the crease to knot the score 1-1.
And the Spartans didn’t stop there.
With TWU’s Nickel in the box for roughing, Brenden Elenko sent a clearing attempt off the boards and to the speedy Beaupre who got a partial breakaway that he capitalized on by snapping a quick wrister up top over the glove of Gill.
Then with 3:53 left in the first frame, the Spartans added to their lead on a power play of their own when Edwards potted his second of the night when he, sitting in the same spot where he collected his first, one-timed a quick pass that came from behind the net from Brendan Stephen and rippled twine on the short side. Chaput picked up the second assist.
In the second period, despite the Coyotes making numerous trips to the penalty box and the Spartans having three 5-on-3 opportunities, it was Okanagan outscoring TWU 2-1 in the period and only trailing 4-3 going into the final frame.
The Coyotes Dave Mann scored on the power play just 45 seconds into the period when he received a pass from Luc Blinkhorn and ripped a wide open one-timer from the slot that beat Zwiers just under the blocker. Brock Munro also had an assist.
But it wasn’t long after when the Coyotes got themselves into penalty trouble.
With TWU’s first 5-on-3 chance having just expired, the Spartans Chaput buried a rebound from in tight off an Edwards shot that restored TWU’s two-goal margin at 8:00 of the second period. Nickel contributed the other assist.
Then, just over two minutes later the Spartans found themselves on another 5-on-3 advantage but this time the Coyotes were the ones doing the scoring.
With 9:27 left in the period, Munro was hooked on a breakaway and given a penalty shot, which, with a quick backhand, forehand deke, he buried to make it just a 4-3 contest.
Although the Spartans had yet another two-man advantage before the period was out – this one after Golin was given a two-minute penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct – TWU was unable to capitalize and went to the room with just a one-goal edge.
“We had a few chances on the power plays but for the most part it was a little deflating that we couldn’t bury one and we gave up one,” Ratcliffe said. “But we stayed in it and we fought hard.”
In the third period, the Spartans were outshot 19-6 but simply willed their way to the win. With Beaupre leading the shot blocking brigade and Zwiers holding the fort between the pipes, the Spartans hung on for the win.
1st – Trevor Edwards – Trinity Western
2nd – Tim Zwiers – Trinity Western
3rd – Dave Mann – Trinity Western
Game Notes: The Spartans were 2 for 8 on the power play while Okanagan was 2 for 5…Okanagan had 30 penalty minutes while TWU had 14 penalty minutes.
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