by Mark Janzen
February 28, 2014, CHENEY, Washington (ISN) – Despite a four-goal third period, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team was unable to complete the comeback as it fell 6-5 against Eastern Washington Friday at the EWU Recreation Complex.
Eastern Washington jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and had a 5-1 edge after 40 minutes, but a furious Spartans rally, which included a third period hat-trick from JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.), saw TWU get within one goal with 20 seconds left to play. However, that was as close as the Spartans got as EWU, who was outshot by TWU 46-33, hung on for the win.
While the Spartans did manage to make it a one-goal game late, they could have drawn even had a clear-cut goal not been waved off by the referee.
“It’s frustrating when you have guys who work so hard and the referee and linesmen aren’t willing to work hard themselves and, frankly, the referees really dictated the game’s outcome tonight,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “Aside from that, we can’t have meltdowns like we did in second period and we have to be a better team going into the playoffs.
“This is a learning opportunity for us. We’ve had lots of them this year, but if we get it figured out for tomorrow, we can still control our own destiny and we can still complete our goal of finishing third. It’s a tall order to get a win in Selkirk but we’re going to go in and swing for the fences and see what happens.”
With the win, EWU, who will miss the playoffs, finishes its season with an 8-15-0-1 record. For TWU, who already clinched a spot in the post-season, the loss drops it to 10-13-0-0. With a win or overtime loss Saturday against Selkirk, the Spartans will lock down third in the BCIHL standings. The Spartans can also clinch third with a Thompson Rivers loss. The WolfPack play Victoria on the road Saturday.
Beyond Villeneuve’s hat-trick, Trevor Beaupre (New Westminster, B.C.), had the other two goals for TWU, including the tally to make it 6-5 late in the third period.
The Eagles had six different goal-scorers with Nick Redding, Jake Flynn, Brandon Butler, Tanner Hawes, Chase Wharton and Ryan Pajimola all getting in on the action.
TWU goalie Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) got the start but was replaced early in the second period by Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) after EWU had made it 4-1. Fredeman made 14 saves on 18 shots while Matthys stopped 13 of the 15 shots he faced.
The Eagles Jason Greenwell made 41 saves in the win.
The Spartans outshot EWU 17-15 in the first period but went into the intermission trailing 3-1. The Eagles Flynn, Butler and Hawes all scored in the first 8:04 of the opening frame before Beaupre responded for TWU with 8:18 left in the first.
In the second, EWU continued to fill the net as Wharton and Redding gave the Eagles a 5-1 lead before the period was five minutes old and maintained that advantage through the end of the period.
The Spartans came to play in the third period as Villeneuve scored twice in the first 10:12 of the final frame to make it 5-3.
Pajimola tallied for EWU to make it 6-3, scoring what would prove to be the winning goal.
Outshooting EWU 19-7 over the last 20 minutes, the Spartans got within two goals when Villeneuve completed his hat-trick with 1:11 left in the game. Beaupre then made it 6-5 with 20 seconds to spare, but the Eagles were able to hold off the surging Spartans for the final 20 seconds to earn the win.
Game Notes: TWU was 0 for 3 on the power play…EWU was 1 for 2.