November 28, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team dropped its final game of the fall semester, losing 7-1 to visiting Simon Fraser Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.
After a tight first period that saw SFU earn just a slim 1-0 advantage, the visiting Clan broke the game wide open in the second with five goals – three of which came on the power play – en route to a convincing six-goal win.
The loss drops TWU to 5-8 on the season and sees the Spartans enter the Christmas break on a seven-game losing skid. For SFU, the win improves its record to 8-1. The win is also the Clan’s second in a row over TWU, having knocked off the Spartans by the same 7-1 count at home Nov. 23.
Simon Fraser got goals from Josh McKissock, Trevor Esau, Jared Eng, Yan Kalashnikov, James Mercer, Mike Ball and Tyler Mah. Nick Sandor had three assists while Mah, Mercer and Kalashnikov had two-point nights. All told, the Clan had 13 players earn at least one point.
The Spartans JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.) scored with 31 seconds left to end SFU goalie Graeme Gordon’s shutout bid. Trinity Western’s Blair Murphy (Surrey, B.C.) and Mattias Schmitt (Surrey, B.C.) had the helpers.
Gordon finished the night with 26 saves on 27 shots. Spartans starting goalie Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) stopped 22 of the 27 shots he faced before Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) replaced him midway through the second period. Matthys made 15 saves on 17 shots.
“In the first period we were skating with them and they just got a lucky goal, but we kind of just laid an egg in the second,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “Our level of compete wasn’t there and then they got a few goals and the morale on our bench started to drop. Really, they outmatched us in terms of their depth.
“On paper we don’t matchup skill wise. So, we asked the guys to bring a better effort in the third. I thought we started finishing our checks in the third and I thought we competed better. But when they put five on you in the second, you don’t have much chance to get a win.”
The Clan opened the scoring exactly two minutes into the first period when a cross-crease pass caromed off of the skate of McKissock and then off a Spartans defenceman before working its way across the goal line.
While the goal gave SFU an early lead, it was largely a back and forth opening frame as the teams traded chances and both TWU goalie Fredeman and Clan netminder Gordon did well to keep it a low-scoring contest through 20 minutes.
Early in the second period a Murphy point shot nearly evened the score line, but his attempt deflected off the right post and from there the game turned SFU’s way.
Esau sparked the goal barrage with a power play tally at 5:21 of the middle stanza and within the next two minutes both Mercer and Ball scored, the latter of which came on the power play, to give SFU a 4-0 lead.
With just over seven minutes left in the second, Eng tallied his third of the season with the man-advantage to give SFU a five-goal bulge.
Shortly after Eng’s marker, the Spartans Matthys replaced Fredeman in the crease but at 16:42 of the second the Clan’s Kalashnikov scored one more for SFU to give the visitors a 6-0 lead going to the final frame.
Midway through the third period, Mah scored his first goal of the season on a point shot to put SFU up 7-0.
After a few TWU goal-scoring chances inside the final two minutes from Villeneuve, Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.) and Schmitt, the Spartans Villeneuve broke Gordon’s goose egg with 31 seconds left when he chipped in his own rebound over top of a down and out Gordon.
“I thought Schmitt and Brad Bakken (Langley) had solid games,” Kropf said. “I also thought Jamie Russell (Surrey, B.C.) and Andrew Wheeler (Maple Ridge, B.C.) were also in the mix and created quality chances.”
The Spartans BCIHL schedule resumes Jan. 16 when they will host SFU at 7 p.m. The Clan is back on the ice Saturday when it returns home to play Victoria.
In the meantime, the Spartans will travel to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia over the Christmas holidays for a missions and service trip from Dec. 25 to Jan. 4.
“I think heading overseas will be a great experience for our guys to gel as a team,” Kropf said. “When you’re in school, you’re not really living together, but when you’re on the road and in a foreign country it has a way of bringing guys together. I think the timing of our trip is going to be key to getting off to a good start in the second half of our season.”
Game Notes: The Spartans were 0 for 4 on the power play while SFU was 3 for 7 with the man-advantage.