Spartans Hang On To Beat Thompson Rivers in Men’s Hockey

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January 12, 2012, LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team opened a 5-0 lead midway through the second period and then hung the rest of the way as it earned a 6-4 win over Thompson Rivers Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

It was a scoring in bunches kind of evening for the Spartans (2-10-0-1) as they tallied their first two goals in the first 1:01 of the contest and then notched three in just 1:11 in the second period, the latter trio giving TWU its 5-0 advantage.

Thompson Rivers (4-8-0-1) rallied the second half of the middle stanza to make it 5-3 going into the third period. Then, in the final frame, after a couple of near misses, the WolfPack got to within one goal when Travis Herlein (Calgary) scored with 2:54 left. But that was as close as the visitors would get.

A frenetic final three minutes, largely played in TWU territory, came to an end when Tyler Miller (Langley) scored an empty-netter on a 185-foot shot to seal the win.

The Spartans had five different goal-scorers on the night with Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.), Ryan Valdes (Langley), Mattias Schmitt (Surrey, B.C.), Tristano Falbo (Langley), Matt Ius (Pitt Meadows, B.C.) and Miller getting in on the action. Nathan Wiebe (Nakusp, B.C.) had three assists and Brad Bakken (Langley) had two helpers. Goalie Tim Zwiers (Williams Lake, B.C.) earned his first win of the season, stopping 37 of the 41 shots he face.

Thompson Rivers Joshua MacDonald (Calgary) led the way for the WolfPack as he scored his team’s first two goals. Herlein and Duncan Schulz (Kamloops, B.C.) each had one goal and two assists while Curtis Tonello (Vancouver) had two assists. Goalie Riley Wall (Kamloops) started the game and allowed two goals on five shots. He was replaced by Shane Mainprize (Valemount, B.C.) after just 6:28 and Mainprize finished the game with 24 saves on 27 shots.

“The big thing is we’re getting some scoring,” said Spartans coach Dwayne Lowdermilk. “We brought in some guys to bang and crash and score and that’s exactly what we saw tonight. We put pucks to the net and just found a way to score and no matter how the goals look, they all count.

“We’re now in the hunt again. We’re working at and every time we get an effort like this we’re going to start stepping up the ladder.”

The Spartans scored two goals in the first 1:01 of the contest as Kreller got his eighth of the season just 45 seconds into the game and, 16 seconds later, Valdes tallied his first as a Spartan to give the home side a 2-0 lead.

After that Thompson Rivers responded with a shot-taking barrage but Spartans goalie Tim Zwiers kept the WolfPack off the board and by the end of the first period TWU remained ahead 2-0 despite being outshot 16-11.

In the middle frame, the Spartans put together an even more impressive goal-scoring blitz as midway through the second period, they notched three goals in 1:11.

Trinity Western’s Schmitt got things rolling when he converted a penalty shot at 8:11 of the second. Scoring his first of the season, Schmitt slalomed his way from centre and then whipped a wrister to the top left corner, past the blocker of Mainprize.

Eleven seconds later, Falbo found a loose puck in the slot and ripped a shot to the top right corner, eluding Mainprize’s glove, for his first of the season.

Continuing the trend of firsts, Ius broke his goal-scoring goose egg when he raced down the ice on a two-on-one and, off the right wing, snapped a low wrister past Mainprize.

But just as the Spartans looked en route to a comfortable win, the WolfPack roared back.

Only a minute after Ius made it 5-0, TRU’s MacDonald capitalized on a power play, banging home a rebound between the legs of TWU goalie Zwiers.

Then, with 4:36 left in the frame, MacDonald got his second of the night, beating Zwiers with a wrist shot to the top glove hand side.

With momentum starting to swing TRU’s way, the WolfPack got to within just two goals with 1:15 left in the frame when Schulz put a point shot past Zwiers on the power play.

After the WolfPack pressed for much of the third period, it finally broke through to make the game interesting late. Herlein deflected a point shot from Tonello that beat Zwiers and make the game a one-goal affair.

However, following a couple of close calls, Ius iced the win when he found the empty net, slapping it home from his own goal line.

The Spartans are back in action Jan. 18-19 when they travel to play Selkirk Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Eastern Washington Saturday at 7 p.m.

Thompson Rivers will return home to host Victoria Jan. 18 at 8:30 p.m.

Game Notes: The Spartans have won two in a row at home…TRU has now lost five games in a row…TWU was 0 for 4 on the power play while TRU was 2 for 5…TWU had 14 penalty minutes and TRU had 12.