LANGLEY, British Columbia – Fresh off of a pair of wins last weekend, the first place Trinity Western men’s hockey team will look to keep its early season momentum rolling as it hosts Victoria Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans lone game of the weekend features a rematch of last Saturday afternoon’s game against the Vikes in which TWU won 6-5.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live at www.bcihl.fasthockey.com.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (5-1-0-1)
BCIHL Standings: 1st
Last weekend: Selkirk 5-3 W, Victoria 6-5 W
BCIHL Streak: 2 wins
2013-14 BCIHL record: 10-13-0-1
2013-14 BCIHL playoff record: 2-3, 2nd
Last BCIHL title: NA
The Spartans are off to their best start in program history through their first seven games and sit atop the BCIHL standings with a five-point cushion between them and a three-way tie for second place.
Playing what is already their fourth game against Victoria of the season on Friday, the Spartans will aim to improve their winning streak to three games and maintain their early grasp on first place.
The Spartans have burst out of the gate with an offensive explosion through their first seven games as they are averaging five goals per game. In two contests last weekend, TWU scored 11 goals and has tallied at least three goals in every BCIHL game it’s played. The Spartans are also the only team in the league with a positive goal differential as they are +9 through seven outings.
FILLING IN THE BLANKS
Despite playing without several key players last weekend, including last year’s BCIHL co-MPV JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.) and all-star defenceman Blair Murphy (Surrey, B.C.), the Spartans kept on winning. Against Selkirk, TWU had nine different players earn at least a point while against Victoria, the Spartans had 11 players hit the score sheet. Cody Fidgett (Richmond, B.C.) leads the team in scoring with 11 goals and seven assists, but the Spartans have five other players who are averaging more than a point per game.
SILAS SHUTTING THE DOOR
Goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) has been an ever-steady force between the pipes. He’s played more minutes than any other goalie in the BCIHL, at 325, and he’s third in the league in goals against average, at 2.95, and second in save percentage, at .911. He has four wins so far this year and was instrumental in helping TWU to both of its victories last weekend.
VICTORIA VIKES (3-3)
BCIHL Standings: 2nd (tied)
Last weekend: Simon Fraser 8-3 W, Trinity Western 6-5 L
BCIHL Streak: 1 loss
2013-2014 BCIHL Record: 6-13-0-5 (6th)
2013-2014 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
Last BCIHL title: 2011-12
Following a 6-5 loss to TWU last Saturday, the Vikes will return to the Langley Events Centre seeking a little redemption.
Through three games against the Spartans, Victoria is 1-2, which, along with Saturday’s setback, includes a 9-3 loss and a 4-3 win on home ice.
NO KLEIN-ING AROUND
Since getting held off the scoreboard in Victoria’s home-opener against TWU, Adam Klein has been a dominant offensive presence and a goal-scoring catalyst for the Vikes. He comes into this weekend riding a five-game goal-scoring streak and has seven goals and four assists over that span. Last week, he was named the BCIHL’s Player of the Week, thanks in large part to a four-point night against Simon Fraser in which he collected two goals and two assists.
The Vikes power play has got off to an impressive start early in the season, scoring nine goals on 31 attempts. Victoria’s 29.0 power play percentage has it second in the league, behind only the Spartans and their 40.6 power play percentage. The Vikes have been particularly sharp on the road, scoring on five of their 15 opportunities for a tidy percentage of 33.3. Klein, Dylan Hykawy and Evan Warner lead the team with two power play goals each.
Despite sitting in a tie for second place in the BCIHL standings, the Vikes have allowed the most goals, 29, of any team in the league. Behind TWU, Victoria is the best offensive team, with 28 goals, but its defensive shortcomings have the Vikes with a -1 goal differential. Victoria has allowed three or more goals in all six of its games this year.