LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team saw its hopes of a playoff spot mathematically dashed Friday as they lost 4-3 to the University of Victoria at the Langley Events Centre.
Despite a valiant comeback attempt that saw the Spartans rally from a 4-0 deficit to make it 4-3, it was too little too late as the four-goal deficit proved insurmountable on this night.
The Spartans, who are 4-14-4 on the season, remained five points behind fifth place Easter Washington and with only two games remaining on their schedule can no longer catch the Eagles for the final playoff position.
With the win, Victoria, who is now 9-10-2, remained alone in fourth place.
Spartans goalie Tim Zwiers made 35 saves in a losing effort while Jason Margolus stopped 28 of 31 shots he faced to earn the win.
The Spartans got behind early as they found themselves down 3-0 before the game was 11 minutes old. Victoria’s Matt Bell scored on the power play for Victoria 3:30 into the period with assists going to Dustin Taylor and Mark Callaghan. Mark Prest doubled the advantage 2:16 later, with assists to Adam Klein and Mitchell Bell. And then Brent Sutherland, again with the man-advantage, gave the visitors a three-goal edge at 11:45 of the first, with assists to Thomas Burton and Taylor.
Victoria kept the pressure on in the second period and expanded its lead to 4-0 when Callaghan scored at 13:47.
Trinity Western was plagued by penalties in the second period as it was whistled for four minors in the middle stanza compared to none for Victoria.
But, as it turned out, it was while the Spartans were shorthanded that they finally got on the scoreboard. Josh Stephenson scored with 5:04 left in the period and the Spartans rally was on. Trinity Western’s Brandon Long assisted on the shorthanded tally, which gave him points in seven straight games.
Then, just 3:04 into the third period, with the Spartans on their first power play of the night, Trinity Western climbed to within two goals when Sam Gemmell potted his first goal since Nov. 25. Long picked up his second assist of the game on the play.
With 2:22 left to play in the game, Doug Gordon made things really interesting as he scored an unassisted marker to get Trinity Western within one. But that was as close as the Spartans would get.
Trinity Western outshot Victoria 14-8 over the final 20 minutes but couldn’t muster a fourth and what would have been tying goal.
Trinity Western will play its final two games of the season on the road against Victoria Mar. 9-10. Friday’s game is at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday’s is at 4:00 p.m.
Game Notes: TWU was 1 for 2 on the power play…Victoria was 2 for 6 on the power play…Victoria outshot TWU 39-31.