LANGLEY, British Columbia – Simon Fraser’s Darnel St. Pierre scored a power play goal with just over two minutes remaining and despite a late Trinity Western goal and furious finish, the Clan held on for a 5-4 win Saturday in the Spartans home-opener at the Langley Events Centre.
In a goal-fest of a game, the Spartans (1-2) evened the score 3-3 midway through the third period, but the visiting Clan, who was playing in its first BCIHL regular season game of the year, responded with two goals of their own to take the lead for good.
After St. Pierre’s goal put SFU up 5-3, the Spartans Andrew Wheeler (Maple Ridge, B.C.) scored with 49 seconds to play to make for an interesting finish, but a goal-mouth scramble in the waning seconds proved unfruitful for TWU.
Jaret Babych had two goals and an assist for SFU while Michael Sandor, Tyler Basham and St. Pierre also scored.
The Spartans had four different goal-scorers with Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.), Mattias Schmitt (Surrey, B.C.), Florian Niedermaier (Davos, Switzerland) and Wheeler all finding the back of the net.
TWU outshot SFU 54-31, but it was Jordan Liem making 50 saves for the Clan to earn the win. The Spartans Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) made 26 saves in the loss.
“I thought we created a lot of good scoring chances tonight and while we didn’t quite get the breaks on some of them, I’m pretty confident we out-chanced them and, overall we had a lot of great efforts,” said Spartans assistant coach Chris Wiens. “I think all four lines had great moments in the game, but we had some bad turnovers, especially at our blueline, and that was a large part of our undoing.
“We generated a lot of chances and a lot of shots, so it’s disappointing we weren’t able to get the win. There were little game management issues that we just can’t do and that cost us. We just came up a little short at the end.”
After going more than half the game with neither side scoring a goal, the game exploded late in the second period with the teams combining for five goals in less than six minutes.
Kreller opened the scoring with 6:33 to play in the period when he took a cross-crease feed from Wheeler and buried it into the back of the net.
SFU responded just over a minute later, with Babych sparking the Clan’s second-period goal barrage.
Sent in alone on Matthys, Babych got the puck past on a hard-charging Matthys, retrieved it and slid it into a gaping net with 5:05 left in the period.
Forty-one seconds later, Basham found a loose puck in the crease behind Matthys and with the TWU’s goalie unawares, popped it into the open cage.
The Clan’s offensive foray carried on with Babych getting his second of the night when he took a quick feed from Brendan Lamont from behind the net and snapped a shot up top.
However, with 35 seconds left, the Spartans Schmitt made it a one-goal game again when he deflected a Blair Murphy (Surrey, B.C.) point shot past Liem.
With the Spartans pressing early in the third period, Niedermaier tipped a Kaleb Denham (Innisfail, Alta.) point shot to tie the game 3-3.
With 10:14 to play, Sandor restored SFU’s lead and then with 2:08 to play, St. Pierre notched the winner with a shot from the top of the circle that beat Matthys, who was without a stick.
Wheeler whipped home a wrister from the slot off a scramble play to make the game close late.
The Spartans are back on the ice Oct. 16 when they host Eastern Washington at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: The Spartans were zero for six on the power play while SFU was one for three…TWU was playing without defenceman Ryan Bakken (Langley, B.C.), who was suspended after taking a checking from behind penalty inside the final 10 minutes of the Spartans last game against Selkirk.