ALDERGROVE, B.C. – The Trinity Western men's hockey team won its opening game of the BCIHL playoffs in convincing fashion over the Simon Fraser University Clan, earning a 6-3 victory Thursday night at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre.
The Spartans rode two goals and an assist from defenceman Jake Mills (Burnaby, B.C.), while Evan Last (Surrey, B.C.), Julian Uhryniuk (Winnipeg), Jorden Bogress (Vancouver) and Dylan Sakatch (Calgary) also scored for TWU.
The win gives the defending BCIHL champion Spartans a 1-0 series lead in the BCIHL semifinal series, while the loss puts the Clan on the brink of elimination as they return home for Game 2 Friday at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre (7 p.m. PT).
SFU forward Kyle Bergh scored all three team goals for the hat trick in the loss.
Bergh scored the first goal of the game to put the Clan on the board at 4:37 of the first period, after a bouncing shot found its way past Spartans goaltender Lucas Mills (Burnaby).
However, the Spartans responded 33 seconds later, when Uhryniuk tied the game 1-1. Sakatch and Jacob Mills added goals of their own later in the period to push the Spartans lead up to 3-1 after 20 minutes.
The second period opened with Last and Bergh trading goals through the first two minutes. After the Spartans failed to register a goal on a five-minute power play – SFU's Darnell St. Pierre's was assessed a major penalty for checking to the head – TWU's Bogress pushed its lead to 5-2 with 2:53 left in the second.
Defenceman Jacob Mills potted his second goal of the game on the power play midway through the third period, extending the Spartans lead to 6-2.
Bergh completed his hat-trick for SFU with 6:43 to in the third period, but it was too little too late as TWU took Game 1.
TWU goaltender Lucas Mills made 26 saves for the Spartans in the win, while Simon Fraser goaltender Michael Lenko made 35 saves in the loss.
TWU finished 2 for 5 on the power play (40%), while Simon Fraser finished 1 for 7 (14.3%).
TWU Head Coach Barret Kropf
"It was pretty physical right off the bat from both sides, something you'd expect in the first game of a playoff series, but speed and discipline worked well for us tonight. Our guys really settled into a groove tonight. It was hard to get into a flow late in the first and into the second period with so many penalty kills, but five-on-five, I thought we did a great job. Our penalty kill was definitely one of the three stars of the game tonight. We had to kill a lot of penalties tonight and were really effective, not giving [SFU] a whole lot of scoring opportunities."
On this series and playing SFU
"We talked to the guys at the start of the game and mentioned how this isn't just one game, this is six periods. Now it's really more of a timeout, get a good rest and go back at it tomorrow. I've said since last week, whoever stays more mentally disciplined and gets good goaltending is going to have the edge in the series."
• The Spartans finished the night with 41 shots, while the Clan had 29.
• TWU was 4-2 against the Clan in the regular season.
• The last time SFU and TWU met in the post-season was in 2015-16 when the Spartans earn a two-game sweep of the Clan in the BCIHL semifinals.
• The two teams have met in three times in the BCIHL semifinals, with TWU winning twice (2013-14 and 2015-16) and SFU winning once (2014-15).
• The last team to win back-to-back championships was the Selkirk Saints, winning four titles in a row from 2012-13 to 2015-16.
The Spartans and Clan will play again tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. at the Bill Copeland Sports Complex in Burnaby B.C. The game can be seen live on HockeyTV.com.