CASTLEGAR, British Columbia – Despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team saw a more experienced Selkirk side rally for a 6-3 win on opening night of the 2015-16 BCIHL regular season Friday at the Castlegar Recreation Centre.
After the Saints scored late in the first period to draw within one goal, the home side came out flying in the second, outshooting TWU 15-1 and outscoring the Spartans 3-0 to take a 4-2 lead into the final frame.
The Spartans made it a one-goal game with 7:16 to play, but two more Selkirk goals in the final six minutes gave the three-time BCIHL defending champions a three-goal win.
TWU goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) did what he could as he saw 43 shots fired his way, but it wasn’t enough on a night when the Spartans put together little more than a 20-minute effort.
Matthew Vela (Burnaby, B.C.), Andrew Wheeler (Maple Ridge, B.C.) and PJ Buys (Newmarket, Ont.) scored for the Spartans. Dallas Calvin, who was an offensive force in the BCHL with Trail last year, tallied a hat-trick in his BCIHL debut, while Dane Feeney, Ryon Sookro and Marcel Fuchs added singles.
“We played a great first period but not so much afterwards,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “I think maybe we thought, system-wise, we were a little further down the road. Having a bit longer break between our last game and this one probably softened us up a bit and we weren’t able to compete for the full 60.
“Having said that, a couple guys had some pretty solid games. Matt Vela got his first in his BCIHL career and he had a good all-around game. Silas, despite the score, made the saves he needed to make to give us a chance, but it just got too hectic in the second and then we were chasing in the third to make up for the three goals they got in the middle frame.”
Selkirk goalie James Prigione made 18 saves on the 21 shots he faced.
The Spartans Vela scored just 16 seconds into the game and then Wheeler doubled TWU’s lead with just over two minutes to play in the opening stanza.
However, with 1:51 to go in the period, Calvin notched his first of the night and that sparked the Saints goal barrage.
In a frenetic second period, Calvin scored twice while Feeney got one to give Selkirk a two-goal edge.
Buys made it a 4-3 contest at 12:44 of the third, but it was Selkirk’s Sookro and Fuchs salting away the win with a pair of late markers.
“We’re young and (Selkirk) has a pretty experienced group,” Kropf said. “They were able to regroup after the first and brought a pretty hard 40 minutes and we weren’t able to match it.”
The two teams will play the back end of the two-game set Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Castlegar Recreation Centre.
Game Notes: Both teams were 0 for 4 on the power play…TWU went 3-0 in the preseason while the Saints were 2-2-1 against university competition prior to their season-opener.