Spartans earn shootout win over Simon Fraser

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by Mark Janzen

February 1, 2014, BURNABY, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team handed Simon Fraser just its third loss of the season as the Spartans beat the Clan 4-3 in a shootout Saturday at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.

After losing to SFU by a 6-2 count Friday on home ice, the Spartans went to Burnaby and played a hard-nosed defensive style to gut out their first win over the Clan this year. The Spartans had lost the previous four against SFU by a combined 25-6.

The Spartans Cody Stephenson (Aldergrove, B.C.) and Jamie Russell (Surrey, B.C.) each scored in the shootout and TWU goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) stopped both SFU shooters he faced to earn the win. Trinity Western is now 4-0 in games that go beyond 60 minutes, winning three in a shootout and one in overtime. The Spartans last three wins have all been decided in overtime or the shootout.

Trinity Western is now 9-10 on the season and tied with Thompson Rivers for third in the BCIHL. The loss drops SFU to 16-2-0-1. The league-leading Clan is five points clear of second-place Selkirk although the Saints do have two games in hand.

The Spartans nearly won the game in regulation as they held a 3-2 lead late in the third period. However, SFU’s Trevor Murdoch scored with 1:03 left to send the game to the extra session.

The Clan’s Jono Ceci had initially tied the game 2-2 just 37 seconds into the third period before TWU’s Riley Schmidt (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) put the Spartans ahead 3-2 at 10:47 of the final period.

Matthys made 38 saves on the 41 shots he faced while SFU goalie Andrew Parent made 17 saves on 20 shots.

The Spartans held SFU scoreless on the power play as the Clan was zero for five with the man-advantage. Trinity Western was one for four on the power play.

“It was a great effort from the boys,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “Silas stood on his head and our penalty kill unit was dynamite. The guys bought into the system that might be described as boring hockey and it worked. They battled hard and, despite playing with four forwards on defence, we got the two points.”

JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.) scored the first of his two goals on the night to open the scoring just over five minutes into the game.

Simon Fraser’s Trevor Esau tied it nine seconds into the second period before Villeneuve restored the Spartans lead on the power play at 7:33.

The Spartans are back in action Feb. 14-15 when they travel to play Selkirk and Eastern Washington.