BURNABY, British Columbia –The Trinity Western men's hockey team used three first period goals to defeat the Simon Fraser Clan 4-2 in BCIHL action Friday night at the Bill Copeland Recreation Centre in Burnaby, B.C. With the win the Spartans will head into the Christmas break with 21 points (10-1-0-1), while the Clan will finish the fall semester with 12 points (6-5-0-0).
TWU fourth year goalie Lucas Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) made 19 saves to earn the win and improve to 9-1-0, while SFU's Michael Lenko (Gabriola Island, B.C made 22 saves.
Second year forward Braden Brown (Calgary) opened the scoring for the Spartans. Brown, who was sitting near the left dot, took a cross ice pass from third year defenseman Dustin Deugau (Calgary) and one timed the shot past SFU Lenko to give TWU the 1-0 lead 5:51 into the game.
The Clan's rookie forward Cole Plotnikoff (Surrey, B.C.) used a screen and made it 1-1 on a perfectly placed shot top shelf over Mills' left shoulder.
TWU rookie defenseman Travis Verveda (Alix, Alta.) regained the lead for the Spartans at 11:02 on a shot from just inside the blue line, which went through traffic to find the back of the Clan net.
Less than two minutes later, at 12:10, Spartans first year forward Spencer Gerth (Langley, B.C.) got a power play marker, when he took the puck from behind the Clan net and scored a wraparound goal off of the SFU goalie to give TWU the 3-1 lead.
Despite a number of power play opportunities for each team, neither squad was able to add to their total.
Spartans third year forward Evan Last (Surrey, B.C.) made it 4-1 for TWU with a power play goal at 11:31 of the third period. Rookie forward Jordan Bogress (Vancouver) started the play from the left dot, found third year forward Jarrett Fontaine (Humbolt, Sask.) in front of the SFU net, who then sent the puck over to Last on the far right side of the crease to give TWU the three goal lead.
Simon Fraser forward Mitch Ledyard (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) took advantage of a Trinity Western turnover to score a shorthanded goal at 17:40 of the third period. Ledger broke up the left side on the partial break-away and sent a knuckling puck into the top corner of the TWU net to cut the TWU lead to two goals, 4-2.
The Clan pressed to tie the game with a power play and an empty net in the final minutes, but were unable to get even as the Spartans earn the victory.
TWU Head Coach Barret Kropf
"I felt like a proud dad with the way our guys played tonight. We told them that they had to continue to work hard and that there were no easy games and that teams get up for us and that we have to get up for them as well. And our guys came out flying and were making great plays. We were effective on the power play early and it was one of those midseason games that you just have to grind out."
"We ended up finishing with only 13 skaters and it forced us to step up. It was a really gritty effort by all of our guys to stay as disciplined as we could. Everyone played well we moved the puck with speed on offence and we block so many shots tonight in our end."
"In the midst of exams and the physical and mental exhaustion that our guys are experiencing right now I thought they earned full measure for their effort tonight. I am super proud of them on how they finished off a really good first semester."
- The Spartans' won the two previous meetings with the Clan. Winning 4-1 at SFU on October 13 and 3-0 at TWU on November 9.
- TWU leads the league in goals against with a 2.25 GAA, having given up only 27 goals in 12 contests.
On Spartans will have a week off before they take on the Kazakhstan Junior National Team on Thursday, December 13. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. TWU will continue BCIHL play on Thursday, January 3 when they will host the same Simon Fraser Clan at the Langley Events Centre. Both games can also be seen live on HockeyTV.com.
Kazakhstan, who are prepping for the World Juniors, will also play the University of Victoria on Tuesday, December 11 and the BCIHL All-Star team on Monday, December 17. Both games will be played at the Langley Events Centre.