LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team and Eastern Washington played to a 0-0 tie Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.
Trinity Western’s Tim Zwiers made 27 saves to earn his first shutout of the season while Eastern Washington’s Cash Ulrich stopped 25 pucks as he also picked up his first goose egg of the campaign.
The tie is the second between these two teams in as many games as they skated to a 3-3 tie the last time they faced each other Nov. 25.
The Spartans are now 3-8-3 on the season while the Eagles are 5-8-2.
“You see a little rust kick off but that’s for both teams,” said Spartans coach Dwayne Lowdermilk. “But with pretty much just a week’s worth of practices before tonight, I’m proud of how the boys played. The biggest part for us is the defence. We lost a few guys on the blueline over the break but a number of guys stepped up for us tonight.
“Some of the saves [Tim Zwiers] made were phenomenal. He stood on his head. All we can ask of him is to fill in where [former Spartans goalie] JP Chapman was and I think he’s there for good now.”
After the start of the game was delayed due to travel issues with Eastern Washington, both teams got off to a bit of a sluggish start, with neither team earning much in the way of top quality chances in the early stages.
The Eagles got the first great opportunity of the game to generate offensive chances when they were given an elongated five-on-three opportunity in the first few minutes of the contest. Unfortunately for the visitors, they managed just one shot on the near-two minute advantage and instead the Spartans garnered the momentum.
With both goalies playing flawless hockey in the first 20 minutes, the first period was a sign of things to come.
In the second, it was much of the same as neither team generated many chances and when they did, the goalies unbeatable.
Trinity Western’s best chance of the period came midway through the frame on a shot off the rush from Matt Chaput that rang off the left post.
The Eagles nearest opportunity came off a Jake Flynn rush in which he put a low shot on net that Zwiers stopped but it was an ensuing glove save off the rebound that had the crowd buzzing.
Despite the Eagles possessing a 1110-16 advantage in shots, the score remained tied after the second.
In the third period, both teams got their fair share of chances but again couldn’t find the back of the net.
Zwiers had to be especially sharp in the third as he stopped eight shots in the period, with his most impressive being a stop midway through the period when AJ Sanders burst in off the left wing on a two-on-one and whipped a shot on net only to be stymied by the Spartans goalie.
With 2:21 left in the period, Chaput was whistled for a hooking call, which gave the Eagles a chance for a late-game winner on the power play. Eastern Washington did hit a post with the man-advantage on a point shot but, despite a late flurry, couldn’t beat Zwiers.
1st – Tim Zwiers – TWU
2nd – Cash Ulrich – EWU
3rd – Sam Gemmell – TWU
Game Notes – The Spartans had four power play opportunities while Eastern Washington had five.