Oct 16, 2014

LANGLEY, British Columbia – With a 5-4 win over Selkirk last Saturday, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team seemingly marked the dawn of a new era. Having lost all nine games against Selkirk last year, the Spartans look like an improved team this year and the win over the Saints proved just that.

Now, TWU’s consistency will be tested when it plays a home-and-home series with Simon Fraser this weekend, starting Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Spartans (2-1) are looking to keep on winning at the LEC as they are 2-0 so far at home, including a 4-3 preseason win over SFU. This weekend’s series will be the first regular season meeting of the year between the Spartans and Clan.

BCIHL Standings: 2nd (tied)
Last weekend: Selkirk 5-4 W
BCIHL Streak: 1 win
2013-14 BCIHL record: 10-13-0-1
2013-14 BCIHL playoff record: 2-3, 2nd

It’s early on, but the Spartans, at 2-1, are right in the thick of the race for first place. It’s early on, but if the first few weekends of play are any indication, parity seems to have taken over the BCIHL. Every team has a loss so far and the Spartans have proven themselves to be, at the very least, step for step with everyone the league.

After 10 straight losses to Selkirk, a win over the Saints has the Spartans teeming with confidence. Having played each of the other four teams in the league, either in preseason or regular season, and earned wins over three of them – TWU lost 5-2 in its lone game against Eastern Washington – the Spartans know they are right there with the best the BCIHL has to offer. However, this weekend’s series with perennial powerhouse SFU will be a true test.

Playing against his old team last week, Cody Fidgett (Richmond, B.C.) put up two goals and two assists in TWU’s win over Selkirk. He’s now second in the BCIHL in points, having already registered five goals and four assists in three games. In the preseason, Fidgett scored a hat-trick against SFU in his Spartans debut.

After Fidgett’s nine points and JP Villeneuve‘s seven points, the Spartans next two highest point-getters are defenceman Ryan Bakken (Langley) and Jake Harcoff (Surrey, B.C.). Bakken has one goal and four assists while Harcoff has five assists. Add to that the fact Blair Murphy (Surrey) has two goals and one assist and Micah Cockrill (Chilliwack, B.C.) has two assists and the Spartans have to be thrilled with the early offensive success from they’ve received from the blue line.

BCIHL Standings: 2nd (tied)
Last weekend: Selkirk 6-2 W
BCIHL Streak: 1 win
2013-14 BCIHL record: 19-3-0-2
2013-14 BCIHL playoff record: 1-2, 3rd (tied)

The Clan have long been the litmus test within the BCIHL. If a team can compete with SFU, it can likely compete with anyone. This year, SFU is 2-1 and, although early, it appears the Clan, who won 19 games last year, have come back to the pack a bit. This weekend will go a long way to showing what kind of team SFU really has.

With a goal and an assist in last weekend’s 6-2 win over Selkirk, Ceci made SFU history as he became the Clan’s all-time leading scorer with 47 goals and 83 assists in 71 games. He passed former Clan captain Paul Moscone for top spot in SFU history. The fourth-year Ceci is now second in BCIHL scoring history, trailing only Robert Vos, who put up 157 points in his time with both Fraser Valley and TWU. For Ceci’s efforts, he was named the BCIHL player of the week last week.

In a league that has seen its games average 7.89 goals per game this year, the Clan have managed to hold its opponents to just 2.67 goals per game through three contests. Using both goalies Andrew Parent and Jordan Liem, SFU has given up just eight goals. Parent leads the team statistically as he has a sparkling .955 save percentage in two games.

While Nick Sandor, with three goals and three assists, and Ceci, with two goals and three assists, lead SFU in scoring, much of the offence has come by committee. The Clan has 11 players with at least two points and eight different goal-scorers and Ceci and Sandor are the only two players on the team with more than three points.