Spartans host Simon Fraser Thursday

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November 26, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team will look to head into the Christmas break on a winning note as it will play its final game of the fall semester Thursday against Simon Fraser at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

The game will be streamed live at http://bcihl.fasthockey.com/.  

The Spartans enter Thursday’s contest having lost six games in a row with its most recent setback coming last Saturday on the road against SFU.

The last time TWU hosted SFU, the Spartans earned a 6-5 shootout win on Feb. 15, 2013.

Including a 4-0 loss to SFU in the preseason, the Spartans are 0-2 against the Clan this season.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (5-7)
BCIHL Standings: 4th

Last weekend: Simon Fraser 7-1 L

Streak: 6 losses
2012-2013 BCIHL Record: 6-16-0-2, 6th
2012-2013 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: N/A

After a hot start to the season in which Trinity Western won five of its first six games, the Spartans have fallen on hard times of late as they have now lost six straight.

While the losses have put a damper on what was an impressive start to the campaign, the reality is that four of their six most recent losses have come against either league-leading Selkirk or one-loss Simon Fraser. However, with their next two games against SFU – this Thursday and then, after the Christmas break, on Jan. 16 – the schedule doesn’t get any easier.

Over their first 12 contests, the Spartans earned wins over Eastern Washington twice, Victoria twice and Thompson Rivers. Thursday’s game gives TWU a chance to get in the win column against one of the upper echelon clubs.

The keys for the Spartans will be both getting off to a good start and playing quality defence. Over the course of their six-game losing streak, TWU has been outscored 40-12. In terms of starts, the Spartans haven’t scored the first goal in a game since a 2-0 win over Victoria on Oct. 26.

In goal, netminder Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) has faced the most shots of any goalie in the BCIHL, at 324. The next closest is EWU’s Jason Greenwell at 254. Through 10 games in the crease, Fredeman, who has remained a strength of the team despite its late autumn swoon, now has a 4.18 goals against average and a .892 save percentage.

Offensively, as has been the case all season, JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.) has led the way for TWU. With seven goals and nine assists in his first year playing in the BCIHL, Villeneuve has nine more points than his nearest teammate.

As the team has struggled of late, so too has its special teams. The Spartans are fifth in the BCIHL on the penalty kill, at 75 per cent, and, with nine goals so far with the man-advantage, are sixth in the league on the power play, at 16.4 per cent.

SIMON FRASER CLAN (7-1)
BCIHL Standings: 3rd
Last weekend: Trinity Western 7-1 W
Streak: 1 win
2012-2013 Record: 16-5-0-3, 2nd
2012-2013 BCIHL Playoffs: 2-1-0-1 (2nd)
Last BCIHL title: N/A

Simon Fraser has only played eight games thus far this season, but with seven wins already to its credit, is certainly amongst the top two teams in the BCIHL and a strong argument could be made for their claim to top spot.

Currently sitting in third place, the Clan has five games in hand on Thompson Rivers and are just two points back of the WolfPack, and four games in hand on Selkirk, with only four points separating them. With four games still on SFU’s fall schedule, now is the time for the Clan to start making up ground.

Coming off a 7-1 home win over TWU and with its only loss against league-leading Selkirk, the Clan enter Thursday’s contest a confident group and one that has only lost thrice all-time against the Spartans in 15 regular season games.

Leading the team offensively has largely been the duo of Nick Sandor and Jono Ceci. Sandor enters Thursday’s tilt with 11 goals and eight assists in eight games while Ceci has eight goals and 11 assists also in eight outings. Aaron Enns is third on the team in scoring with six goals and eight assists.

Defencemen Jared Eng, with two goals and eight assists, and Jesse Williamson, with 10 assists have led the way this season from the back end.

In net the duo of Graeme Gordon, in his third year with the team, and Andrew Parent, in his fourth year playing with the Clan, have largely split duties this year, with Gordon playing in four games and Parent in three. Gordon is 4-0, has a 2.00 goals against average and a .932 save percentage. Parent, whose numbers are skewed having allowed nine goals in a loss to Selkirk, is 3-1 with a 3.00 goals against average and .859 save percentage.

Parent was in net when SFU beat TWU 7-1 last week, stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

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