February 16, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – Trinity Western’s Chris Hirano (San Jose, Cali.) scored the lone goal a six-round shootout to lift the Spartans to a 6-5 win over visiting Simon Fraser Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
In front of a boisterous crowd, the Spartans rallied from a two-goal first period deficit to knock off the Clan for just the second time since 2010.
The win moves the Spartans to within four points of fifth place Eastern Washington but, with Victoria also winning, TWU remains six points behind the Vikes for the fourth and final BCIHL playoff position.
“We have a group of guys who are working together right now and, sure it’s a little late in the year, but we’re coming together,” said Spartans coach Dwayne Lowdermilk. “The biggest thing is we have the team and the talent to play with these guys. But it’s like the first day of the year when we went dragon boating as a team. The woman leading us told me that we had some very powerful kids but we just needed to get them rowing in the same direction. That’s what we’ve been working on. We’re trying to do the simple things and row the right way.
“It was electric out there with all those kids from CBC (Columbia Bible College) and we thrived off that energy.”
Brenden Sylvester opened the scoring for SFU early in the first period off a set-up from Chris Hoe and Jono Ceci. A minute later, the Spartans tied the game when Mattias Schmitt (Surrey, B.C.) scored with a quick wrister to the glove side of Clan goalie Evan Kurylo. But SFU responded off the ensuing draw, as Nick Sandor notched his team-leading 15th of the season with assists going to Kyzen Loo and Tony Oak.
Midway through the first, the Spartans got caught pinching deep, sending Silvester and Ceci in on a 2-on-1. Ceci finished off the play top shelf after a great deke by Sylvester sent the single defender sliding left.
That was it for TWU goaltender Tim Zwiers (Williams Lake, B.C.), who allowed 3 goals on 12 shots.
The switch in net, with saw Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) come in for Zwiers, seemed to spark the Spartans as they tied the game late in the first after a bouncing puck found its way past Kurylo. Jake Harcoff (Cloverdale, B.C.) was credited with the goal with assists from Blair Murphy (Surrey) and Matthew Ius (Pitt Meadows, B.C.).
Down 3-2 after the first period, the Spartans came out with a jump in their step in the second as they tied the game just 27 seconds in.
Schmitt intercepted a pass deep in the SFU zone and wristed his second of the night past a stunned Kurylo.
Just 42 seconds later, the Spartans took their first lead of the night when Ius deked through the SFU defence and slid the puck past a sprawled SFU goalie to give the home side a 4-3 edge.
However, the Clan bounced back to tie the game when Kale Wild managed to turn the momentum in their favor on the power play by converting a beautiful saucer pass from Colton Graf.
Late in the second frame, the Spartans reestablished their lead when Ius got his second of the period on the power play.
The third period didn’t yield much in the terms of scoring chances but SFU did manage to tie the game midway through the frame on a deflection by Trevor Milner off a point shot from Wild. Both teams traded chances late in regulation but neither could convert.
The overtime period solved nothing and the teams took turns in the shootout with hopes of gaining the extra point. It wasn’t until the sixth set of shooters that Hirano snapped a shot through the legs of Kurylo to put the Spartans ahead. Simon Fraser’s Graf failed to keep the shootout going when Fredeman squeezed his legs together just in time to keep the puck from sliding through.
The teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
Game Notes: The Spartans 2-12-1 against SFU in its last 15 games…SFU outshot TWU 40 to 38…TWU was 1 for 3 on the power play while SFU was 1-for-5…Fredeman stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced in the loss…Kurylo made 32 saves on 38 shots.