TWU Spartans lose in goal-filled contest

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by Mark Janzen

January 19, 2014, KAMLOOPS, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team scored the first goal of the game, but after that it was all Thompson Rivers as the Spartans lost 9-5 against the WolfPack Saturday at Kamloops Memorial Arena.

The Spartans Jamie Russell (Surrey, B.C.) potted a goal on the power play in the first five minutes of the opening frame, but TRU responded with four goals in less than eight minutes to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

By the end of the first period, TWU’s Blair Murphy (Surrey) tallied to make it a two goal game, at 4-2, but that’s as close as the visiting Spartans would get. Three second period goals from the WolfPack put the game out of reach as the home side cruised to a four-goal win.

Despite going three for four on the power play, the Spartans were bested on a night when they were outshot 38-35.

TWU is now 5-10 on the season while TRU is 11-6.

Joshua MacDonald and Anthony Delong each had two goals for the WolfPack while five others scored singles. The Spartans had five different scorers, including JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.), Micah Cockrill (Chilliwack, B.C.), Chris Hirano (San Jose, Calif.), Murphy and Russell.

TRU’s Chris Solecki made 30 saves in the win while TWU’s Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) took the loss. Fredeman played 34 minutes and made 15 saves on 22 shots before he was relieved by Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland), who stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced.

“We had chances that we couldn’t bury and it was a frustrating night,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “We’re struggling to play consistent hockey and we have to find an ability to do so somewhere. We need to start capitalizing on chances because we can’t be doing this against the good teams, or any of the teams for that matter, in our league. We have lots of work to do.”

After Russell opened the scoring at 4:40 of the first period, TRU’s Colton Schell scored 57 second later and that goal sparked the WolfPack offence. Delong scored the next two for TRU before MacDonald got in on the offensive action when he notched a goal to make it 4-1 with just under seven minutes left in the first.

Then, following Murphy’s goal that made it 4-2, TRU roared right back and at 10:02 of the second Brandon Watson scored the first of the three second period goals for the WolfPack. Within the next four minutes Brodie Gibbon and Tyler Berkholtz both scored to make it 7-2 for TRU.

With 11 seconds left in the second period, former Spartans basketball player Cockrill scored his first goal with the men’s hockey team to get TWU within four.

In the third period, the teams traded goals – MacDonald and Dayton Shaw scored for TRU and Villeneuve and Hirano earned markers for TWU – as the WolfPack skated away with a convincing win.

Both teams are back in action Jan. 24-25 with the Spartans travelling to play Victoria and TRU hosting Simon Fraser.

Game Notes: TWU was 3 for 4 on the power play while TRU was 1 for 3.