By Aaron Boettcher
LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western's Jarrett Fontaine (Humboldt, Sask.) scored a goal late in overtime to lift the Spartans to a 3-2 win over VIU in their season opener Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Opening night for the Spartans men's hockey team came down to the last 10 seconds of overtime, with Fontaine burying the winner in the dying seconds of the extra session.
Brandon Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.) had both of TWU's regulation time markers, while Ryan Cohglan and Michael Olson-Eyre responded for VIU, including the game-tying goal in the latter stages of the third period.
After raising the 2017-18 BCIHL championship banner in a pregame ceremony, the Spartans came out flying, outshooting VIU 13-5 in the first period, but only holding a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes.
Not even five minutes into the game, the Spartans opened the scoring with a goal from Brandon Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.).
VIU evened the scoring at 4:39 of the second period after a power play goal from Ryan Coghlan (Nanaimo, B.C.).
The Spartans quickly fired back and regained the lead not even a minute later, after Potomak scored his second goal of the game at 5:19 of the second period, giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
It was quiet until just under seven minutes left in the third period when VIU's Michael Olson-Eyre (Tsawwassen, B.C.) netted one right off the faceoff in TWU's zone to tie the game 2-2.
Overtime was needed to decide the end of this game and heroics came from the stick of Fontaine. With Dustin Deugau (Calgary) nabbing his second assist of the night, Fontaine buried the winner, sending the Spartan Faithful home happy.
TWU's goalie Lucas Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) stopped 15 of the 17 shots that came his way, while VIU's goalie Brett Clark (Grande Prairie, Alta.) was good on 42 out of the 45 shots he faced.
Head Coach Barret Kropf
"I thought we came in and jumped out really quick there and go a quick early goal. And then I think we almost got too comfortable. I don't know if that is because everyone was trying to impress their parents, or not be embarrassed. It's one of those things where I just felt that we had too many lulls in the game.
"Potomak, with his speed, and (Evan) Last (Surrey, B.C.) and Fonz – they have been guys we have leaned on for the past two years already so it's one of those situations where I feel bad because we've got 10 freshmen in the lineup and we don't have that trust in them yet to be in those critical situations. So our default for now is to go with the guys like Fonz, Last, Poto and (Brayden) Brown (Calgary). But our guys can sit and watch that and see how they did it and they will get their opportunities. We have a good learning culture going on and guys understand that."
• For the third year in a row the Spartans have opened their season with a win.
• Three out of the last four meeting at LEC between TWU and VIU have been won by the Spartans.
• TWU managed to pepper VIU with 47 shots, while keeping VIU to 17.
• Over their last 22 games, including the regular season and playoffs and dating back to last year, TWU is 20-2.
The Spartans are back on home ice Saturday for another game against VIU at the LEC at 7:30 p.m.
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.