January 11, 2013, LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team (1-10-0-1) returns to the Langley Events Centre this weekend as it will open the home portion of its spring semester against Thompson Rivers (4-7-0-1) Friday night at 7 p.m.
The game will be streamed live at www.fasthockey.com
Trinity Western is 0-2 against the WolfPack this year as it lost 8-6 at home and 5-2 on the road.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (1-10-0-1)
BCIHL position: 6th
Last weekend: Victoria 6-4 L
Streak: 1 loss
2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 4-15-5, 6th
2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: N/A
After a difficult first half to the 2012-13 season, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team is looking to turn things around in the second half. And with 12 games still to be played and only six points separating TWU from the fifth and final playoff position, there is certainly still hope for the Spartans.
Though it’s just one game, this weekend could go a long way to determining the Spartans chance for a playoff position. With the WolfPack being one of the two teams that sits six points clear of TWU – the other being Eastern Washington – a win over TRU Friday night would close the gap to just four points. Conversely, a loss would drop TWU eight points behind TRU and make catching the WolfPack little more than a pipe dream.
However, after a well-fought battle against Victoria that saw TWU outshoot the Vikes 40-35 but fall 6-4, the Spartans have a certain degree of newfound confidence. Couple that, with a 6-2 win over EWU to end the fall semester and the Spartans are a team that could be on the rise this spring. Plus, with the addition of former Langley Chiefs forward Matt Ius (Pitt Meadows, B.C.), who had one assist in his Spartans debut against Victoria, the Spartans suddenly have another goal-scoring option.
After scoring just 23 goals in its first 10 games, the Spartans have potted 10 in their last two contests. And although they still did give up eight goals in their last two games, that’s a marked improvement from the 5.7 goals against average the Spartans had through their first 10 games.
The Spartans have been led by Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.) offensively as he has seven goals and five assists, while Jamie Russell (Surrey, B.C.) is only one point behind, having collected four goals and seven assists. In goal, Tim Zwiers (Williams Lake, B.C.) will get the start this weekend. He has a .842 save percentage and a 6.63 goals against average.
THOMPSON RIVERS WOLFPACK (4-7-0-1)
BCIHL position: 4th (tied)
Last weekend: Simon Fraser 8-3 L
Streak: 4 losses
2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 12-8-4, 3rd
2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: 1-2, 4th
Last BCIHL title: N/A
After a solid 2011-12 season last year in which Thompson Rivers finished four games above .500, the WolfPack has got off to something of a ho-hum start to the 2012-13 campaign.
After opening the season with a respectable 4-4-0-0 record, the WolfPack has lost four straight games, has been outscored 26-8 and now sits just six points clear of TWU for the fifth and final playoff position.
While TRU’s recent swoon has seen the WolfPack drop in the standings, the fact that three of those losses came against second-place Simon Fraser is reason enough to keep TRU from looking for the panic button.
With two wins in two games against TWU this year and having outscored the Spartans by a combined 13-8, the WolfPack enter this weekend with confidence it can stop its losing streak at four games.
Through its first 12 contests, TRU has scored 42 goals while allowing 70. Only Trinity Western, at -32, has a worse goal differential than the WolfPack’s -28.
The Achilles’s heel of the WolfPack has been its special teams. Thompson Rivers sits last in the BCIHL in both power play percentage, at 12.3, and penalty kill percentage, at 61.1. Having only earned 57 power play opportunities, the WolfPack has scored just seven goals with the man advantage, five fewer than TWU’s 12. The WolfPack has also given up a league-high 28 goals while shorthanded.
Individually, TRU’s offence has been led by Colten DeFrias and Alessio Tomassetti, who each have 17 points on the year and are tied for fifth in the BCIHL in scoring.
In goal, Shane Mainprize has received the bulk of the workload as he has played in eight games and has a 6.13 goals against average and a .846 save percentage. Riley Wall, having played five games, and Adrien Hervillard, getting into three games, have also seen action between the pipes this year.