LANGLEY, British Columbia – For the first time this season, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team left the Langley Events Centre empty-handed as the Spartans lost 3-1 to Victoria Friday in what was their first home setback of the campaign.
Coming off four straight home wins, the Spartans fell behind 1-0 in the first period while being outshot 18-6 and never fully recovered.
The Vikes added two more – one in the second and one in the third – before TWU finally got on the scoreboard midway through the final frame to make it a two-goal game. A furious TWU push in the late stages of the game proved fruitless as the Spartans dropped to 5-2-0-1 on the season.
Victoria improved to 4-3 with the win and took over sole possession of second place in the BCIHL, climbing within three points of first place TWU. The Spartans are now 2-2 against Victoria this season.
“I thought we had a terrible week of practice and preparation,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “We’ve gone through quite a bit in terms of a heavy front-loaded schedule. So, I’m not sure where the guys were at – if they were starting to get worn down or what. But there’s no excuses. Going into a bye week, we have to have a better effort.
“Having said that, Victoria continues to outwork everybody and their goalie stood on his head. That’s why they’re where they’re at. They earned those two points tonight fair and square. We weren’t mentally ready in the first 20 minutes and we were playing catch-up the rest of the way. We have to find a way to work as hard as they do if we are going to get results against them.”
It was the first time all season that the Spartans have scored less than three goals and it was also the first time this year that Victoria has allowed less than three goals.
Cole Conway and Carsen Willans led the way for Victoria as they each had a goal and an assist. Mattias Schmitt (Surrey, B.C.) was the lone TWU goal-scorer.
Goalie Scott Legault earned the win for Victoria as he made 36 saves while Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) took the loss despite stopping 31 of the 34 shots he faced.
Cameron Rowat got Victoria going in the first period as he opened the scoring at 7:59 on a goal assisted by Patrick Webb and Evan Warner.
The Spartans pushed back in the second period and outshot Victoria 13-10 but once again it was the Vikes with the lone tally. Willans scored what would prove to be the game-winner with 2:23 left in the period, with an assist to Conway.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Conway scored on the power play to give Victoria a 3-0 lead. Willans and Webb picked up assists.
Schmitt continued to have the hot hand for TWU as he scored his fourth goal in three games, banging in a rebound on the power play with 7:45 left in the period. Dawson Sawatzky (Calgary) picked up his first point as a Spartan while Jake Harcoff (Surrey) nabbed his 12th assist of the season to keep his eight-game point streak alive.
The Spartans are back in action Nov. 14 when they host Selkirk at 7 p.m. Victoria plays Simon Fraser Saturday at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: TWU was 1 for 5 on the power play while Victoria was 1 for 3…TWU outshot the Vikes 37-34…this was the fourth of eight meetings that the Spartans and Vikes will have this year.