TWU Spartans host league-leading Simon Fraser

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by Mark Janzen

January 30, 2014, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – Coming off back-to-back wins over Victoria on the road, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team will be aiming to keep its momentum rolling when it plays a home-and-home series with Simon Fraser this weekend, starting Friday at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre and finishing Saturday in Burnaby.

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

The Spartans (7-10) earned a 6-5 shootout win and a 5-4 overtime win over Victoria last weekend and, with that, completed a four-game season sweep of the Vikes.

Simon Fraser (14-3) also posted consecutive wins on the weekend, beating Thompson Rivers twice, 4-2 and 1-0.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (7-10)

BCIHL Standings: 4th
Last weekend: Victoria 6-5 W (SO), 5-4 W (OT)
Streak: 2 wins

BCIHL Statistics

  • PP%: 22.2 (3rd)
  • PK%: 70.3 (6th)
  • GF: 51 (4th)
  • GA: 83 (5th)

OVERTIME SPECIALISTS

After winning last weekend’s games against Victoria in a shootout and in overtime, the Spartans pushed their record to 3-0 this year when playing beyond 60 minutes. The Spartans also beat Eastern Washington in a shootout earlier this season.

POWER PLAY HEATING UP

The Spartans power play has found its groove of late. In its last three games, TWU has scored on seven of its 11 extra man opportunities and, in doing so, the Spartans have jumped to third in the BCIHL with a power play now operating at 22.2 per cent for the season. Over TWU’s first 14 games, it was nine for 61 on the power play, which had the Spartans working at 14.8 per cent.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The stretch drive has arrived and with just seven games to play, the push for a playoff spot is on in earnest. The Spartans enter this weekend in fourth place, five points ahead of EWU and six points behind TRU. But with four games left against the likes of SFU and Selkirk, there is plenty of work still to be done to solidify a playoff position.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

JP Villeneuve – The Spartans JP Villeneuve had a record-setting night last Saturday that saw him collect all five Spartans goals in a 5-4 overtime win over Victoria. He is now eighth in league scoring with 15 goals and 11 assists.

Micah Cockrill – The TWU basketball player turned hockey player also had a night to remember last Saturday as he collected four assists. After earning just one point in his first 12 games, Cockrill now has seven points in TWU’s last three games.

Blair Murphy – The 6-foot-5 blueliner has been one of the Spartans steadiest players all year. He leads TWU’s defensive core in points with two goals and seven assists and in his own end, you won’t find anyone calmer or cooler on the puck.

SIMON FRASER CLAN (14-3)

BCIHL Standings: 1st
Last weekend: Thompson Rivers 4-2 W, 1-0 W
Streak: 4 wins

BCIHL Statistics

  • PP%: 21.8 (4th)
  • PK%: 84.3 (2nd)
  • GF: 83 (2nd)
  • GA: 38 (1st)

AIMING FOR THE TOP

For the Clan, the regular season goal is simple: finish first. So far, through 17 games, SFU is on the right track to doing just that. After a loss to TRU Jan. 11, the Clan has won four straight, including wins over TWU, Selkirk and TRU twice.

STAUNCH DEFENCE

Simon Fraser has shut the door defensively all year. The Clan enters Friday’s contest with a league-leading 2.24 goals against average. Recently, SFU has been particularly solid on the back end, allowing just seven goals in its last four games. Goalie Andrew Parent is coming off a 25-save shutout, which is SFU’s fourth goose egg of the year.

SCORING DEPTH

While Nick Sandor and Jono Ceci lead the team in scoring with 35 and 34 points respectively, the Clan have seven other players with double-digit point totals. By comparison, TWU has just two players with double-digit point totals.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tyler Mah – The SFU captain doesn’t put up huge numbers as a defenceman – he has seven points in 17 games – but his presence is obvious every time he steps on the ice. He brings a maturity that gives the Clan a sense of calm when he’s on the blue line.

Scott Brkich – The 6-foot-2 defenceman transferred from UBC in the summer but was ineligible to play in the fall. He played his first BCIHL game Jan. 11 and got his first goal with SFU Jan. 25 in a 1-0 win over TRU. He’s a physical player with a heavy shot.

Aaron Enns – Enns is third in team scoring with nine goals and 15 assists this year. He is eight points ahead of SFU’s fourth leading scorer Jared Eng but 10 points behind Ceci. However, he has been held pointless in the Clan’s last three games and, having not gone more than three games all year without a point, appears due to get back on the score sheet.

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