TWU SPARTANS TAKE OUT LEAGUE CHAMPS IN HOME-OPENER

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LANGLEY, British Columbia – In a rematch of last year’s BCIHL championship series, the Spartans got a small measure of retribution, as Trinity Western took care of business in its home-opener, knocking off Selkirk 2-0 Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

 

Third-year Spartan Florian Niedermaier (Davos, Switzerland) scored in the second period and defenceman Stefan Gonzales (Surrey, B.C.), who was playing against his former team, tallied an insurance marker in the third to secure TWU’s second win of the year.

 

Fourth-year goalie and two-time BCIHL all-star Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) made 22 saves to earn his second career shutout. Matthys only other shutout and TWU’s last shutout as a team also came against Selkirk when the Spartans earned a 4-0 win Nov. 14, 2014.

 

Niedermaier potted his second of the season partway through the middle frame, corralling a bouncing puck behind the goal line and finagling it into the back of the net.

 

Gonzales tallied his first goal as a Spartan, burying a cross-crease feed from Evan Last (Surrey) off of a two-on-one at 10:46 of the third period. Gonzales played two years, 2013-14 and 2014-15, with the Saints.

 

“It was nice to see Gonzales getting the insurance marker because I think he really wanted to have a part in the sinking of that ship,” said Spartans coach Barrett Kropf. “And Silas was Silas. However, nothing to take away from Silas, but I thought it was more of a team shutout. He often has to steal games for us, but tonight he had a solid team effort in front of him and he made the saves he needed to make.”

 

The Spartans (2-1) have now won nine of their last 12 regular season games against the Saints (0-2).

 

TWU outshot Selkirk 32-22.

 

“We were pretty nervy in the first 20 minutes and we were making too many selfish plays. But for the last 40 minutes, the guys played really well,” “To keep a team to 22 shots is solid and we’re definitely pleased with that. I thought we needed to improve our back check from last week and we were much better in that regard tonight, which eliminated a lot of potential scoring chances. I thought Cody (Stephenson, Aldergrove, B.C.) had a particularly good game, stopping a lot of scoring chances by coming back, having his guy and being in the right places. That’s how you eliminate shots and scoring opportunities.

 

“I also thought Dawson Sawatzky (Calgary) had a good game. He didn’t get on the scoresheet but he had a lot of puck possession and it was down low stuff that forced their defencemen to expend energy chasing him around.”

 

The Saints Dallas Calvin, who finished second in league scoring last year, hit the post off an in-tight play early in the third period.

 

The Spartans outshot Selkirk 8-5 in a tight-checking second period, with Neidermaier’s tally providing the lone offensive finish. First-year Kenny Batke (Vernon, B.C.)  sparked the play when his point shot went off the end boards and created a bouncing puck.

 

Both teams had two first period power plays but were unable to convert.

 

The Spartans return to action Oct. 21 when they host Eastern Washington at the LEC. Selkirk is back on the ice Saturday at Simon Fraser.

 

Game Notes: Friday’s contest was a rematch of last year’s BCIHL championship series…the Saints won the best-of-three series in two games…last year TWU was 3-3 against Selkirk…the next time these two teams play is Nov. 4-5 when TWU will travel to Castlegar, B.C. for a two-game weekend series

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