October 24, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team has earned wins in two of its first three games and will look to build upon its early season success this weekend as the Spartans host winless Victoria Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
The game will be streamed live at http://bcihl.fasthockey.com/.
The Spartans are coming off a 4-0 win over Eastern Washington in a home game last Saturday afternoon while Victoria enters the weekend without a win in six outings, including back-to-back losses at home last weekend against Simon Fraser.
Last year, the Spartans were 1-4 in five games against Victoria, including a 7-2 loss in TWU’s season finale.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (2-1)
BCIHL Standings: 3rd (tied)
Last weekend: Eastern Washington 5-3, L; 4-0, W
Streak: 1 win
2012-2013 BCIHL Record: 6-16-0-2, 6th
2012-2013 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: N/A
With a 2-1 record through their first three games, the Spartans are a group that is teeming with confidence and, if early signs are accurate, a group that is helping the Trinity Western men’s hockey program turn the corner.
Last year, the Spartans didn’t earn their second win of the season until after Christmas. This year, TWU has its second win after just its second weekend of action. Trinity Western also now possess a winning record for the first time since a season-opening win against Fraser Valley Sept. 24, 2010. That was also the first game under the Spartans umbrella for the TWU men’s hockey program.
In TWU’s most recent game, a 4-0 victory over Eastern Washington, the Spartans earned a shutout win for the first time since Feb. 11, 2011, when they beat Simon Fraser 3-0. The Spartans only other shutout over that span came in a 0-0 tie with Eastern Washington Jan. 20, 2012.
Earning the shutout for the Spartans was goalie Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.), who made 30 saves and has now picked up wins in both of his two regular season starts this season. Through three games, Fredeman has a 1.29 goals against average and a .954 save percentage.
Entering the weekend, first-year JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.) leads the team in scoring with one goal and four assists in three games. Meanwhile, Chris Hirano (San Jose, Cali.) has three goals and one assist while Cody Stephenson (Aldergrove, B.C.) has three goals and Mattias Schmitt (Surrey, B.C.) has one goal and two assists.
So far, 11 different players have chipped in offensively.
The Spartans power play is third in the BCIHL at 21.4 per cent, while their penalty kill is fourth, at 75.0 per cent. Trinity Western has outscored its opposition 11-8.
VICTORIA VIKES (0-6)
BCIHL Standings: 6th
Last weekend: Simon Fraser 10-0, L; 5-0, L
Streak: 6 losses
2012-2013 BCIHL Record: 10-13-0-1, 4th
2012-2013 BCIHL Playoffs: 0-2
Last BCIHL title: 2011-12
It has been a tough start for the Victoria Vikes as they have lost six in a row to open the season and have scored just six goals – five of which came in a 6-5 loss to Thompson Rivers – while giving up 35.
Playing Selkirk and Simon Fraser over the past two weekends, Victoria has been shutout in four straight outings and has been outscored 23-0 over that span.
With this weekend’s games against the Spartans, the Vikes are hoping to turn things around. Fortunately for Victoria, the Vikes recent history against TWU is certainly favourable. Since 2010, the Vikes are 11-3-1, including the playoffs, against the Spartans. However, over that span, Victoria has never played a Spartans side that possesses a winning record; something the Vikes will have to do Friday.
Offensively, while the goals have been non-existent of late, Victoria enters the weekend with Shawn Mueller leading the team in scoring with two goals. Adam Klein, Thomas Bruton and Evan Warner have all collected two points while six others have earned a goal or an assist.
In net, Victoria has used a carousel of options this year as four different goalies have seen action in the Vikes six contests. Sunny Gill, who is in his fourth year in the BCIHL and second with Victoria after playing his first two with now-defunct Okanagan, has played the most minutes thus far, with 171. Robert Simmons has seen 120 minutes of action while Jacob Kamikawaji has played 35 minutes and Nick Babich has played 34 minutes. Gill enters the weekend with a 4.91 goals against average and a .886 save percentage.
The last time Victoria played a weekend series at the Langley Events Centre, the teams split the two games. The Spartans won Friday’s contest 4-2 before Victoria responded with a 7-0 win Saturday.