LANGLEY, British Columbia – After a week off, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team returns to the ice Friday when it hosts Selkirk for the third time this season at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans (5-2-0-1) are coming off a 3-1 loss to Victoria on Oct. 31 and have been forced to sit and watch as both Selkirk (5-3-0-1) and Victoria (5-4-0-1) equalised TWU in points atop the BCIHL standings.
This Friday’s contest features the top two teams in the league with the winner taking over sole possession of first place.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live at www.bcihl.fasthockey.com.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (5-2-0-1)
BCIHL Standings: 1st (tied)
Last weekend: Bye week
BCIHL Streak: 2 losses
2013-14 BCIHL record: 10-13-0-1
2013-14 BCIHL playoff record: 2-3, 2nd
Last BCIHL title: NA
After starting the season with a pair of road games in Victoria, the Spartans schedule had them playing six of their next seven games at home. Friday’s tilt is TWU’s last home game of that stretch before playing four of its next five games on the road.
The Spartans are 4-1 at home this year, including two wins over Selkirk.
SITTING, WAITING, WISHING
The last time the Spartans played was on Oct. 31 and the result was their first home loss of the season. The game also saw TWU score less than three goals for the first time this year. Since then, they’ve had two weeks to think about it. In the meantime, both the Vikes and Saints caught the Spartans in the standings and now there are just three points that separate first from fifth in the BCIHL standings. Sitting and waiting, they’ve been wishing Friday night would come as soon as possible.
Since losing 10 straight against the Saints, including preseason, regular season and postseason, the Spartans seem to have found the secret to beating Selkirk. The Spartans come into Friday’s game having won back-to-back games against the Saints, winning 5-4 on Oct. 11 and 5-3 on Oct. 24. Three straight wins over Selkirk will secure TWU’s spot in the early season driver’s seat for first place. The last time the Spartans knocked off the Saints three times in a row was in the 2011-12 season.
The Spartans can thank Silas Matthys for much of their early season success as he has been between the pipes for all five of TWU’s wins. His .911 save percentage has him second in the BCHIL, behind Victoria’s Scott Legault, and his 2.96 goals against average is fourth in the league.
SELKIRK SAINTS (5-3-0-1)
BCIHL Standings: 1st (tied)
Last weekend: Simon Fraser 4-2 W, 5-2 W
BCIHL Streak: 4 wins
2013-2014 BCIHL Record: 20-3-0-1 (1st)
2013-2014 BCIHL Playoffs: 4-0 (1st)
Last BCIHL title: 2013-14
The Saints are the hottest team in the league entering Friday’s game as they are winners of four straight. Playing on home ice each of the past two weekends, Selkirk produced a pair of two-game series sweeps against Eastern Washington and Simon Fraser.
This Friday, the Saints will be aiming for their first win of the regular season against TWU.
OUTSHOOTING, BUT NOT OUTSCORING
While Selkirk has yet to earn a win against the Spartans this year, it’s not for lack of shots. Over the last four periods against TWU, Selkirk has outshot TWU 55-28. In the last game between the teams, Selkirk had a 39-22 edge in shots, but lost 5-3.
TURNING IT AROUND
The Saints won just one of their first five games, but since then they have won four in a row and are suddenly in position to take over sole possession of first place with a win on Friday. Over their last three games in particular, the Saints have shown the dominance that won them back-to-back league titles, as they’ve outscored their opponents16-5. With just 31 goals against in nine games, Selkirk is also the stingiest defensive team in the league, allowing 3.44 goals against per game.
SCORING BY COMMITTEE
Last year, Selkirk had three scorers amongst the top five in BCIHL scoring, with Logan Proulx, Connor McLaughlin and Cody Fidgett leading the way. With both Fidgett, who joined the Spartans, and McLaughlin no longer with Selkirk, the Saints have relied on a committee of scorers to cultivate the offence. Darnell Dyck leads the team with two goals and 11 assists while Proulx is second on the team with five goals and six assists and Thomas Hardy is third with two goals and eight assists. After that, Selkirk has 12 other players with at least three points and 12 players with at least two goals.