CHENEY, Washington – Trinity Western tallied four power play goals and the Spartans cruised to a second straight 5-1 win over Eastern Washington Saturday.
After the Eagles opened the scoring, the Spartans (15-5-0-2) reeled off five unanswered goals to clinch second place and home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
Florian Niedermaier (Davos, Switzerland), Cody Stephenson (Aldergrove, B.C.), Dirk de Waal (Lethbridge, Alta.), Evan Last (Surrey, B.C.) and Andrew Wheeler (Maple Ridge, B.C.) scored for the Spartans.
TWU goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) made 36 saves to earn the win.
The Eagles Tanner Hawes scored EWU’s only goal for the second night in a row.
The Spartans trail first-place Simon Fraser by four points, but the two teams still play each other twice next Friday and Saturday to end the regular season. Both games are at SFU.
EWU (2-19-0-1) will play a home-and-home series with Selkirk next weekend to wrap up its season.
“I think the key thing tonight was that we stay disciplined and obviously our power play was on fire,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “It’s really good to get some confidence and capitalize on our chances. The guys did what we needed to do to get a road sweep and lock up home ice advantage for the first round. So, it’s mission accomplished for this weekend. We look forward to continuing this run that we’re on and we just need to stay focused and continue to build momentum.”
After Hawes opened the scoring with a power play marker in the first period, the Spartans equalized less than two minutes into the second period with Niedermaier tallying his ninth goal of the season. Kaleb Denham (Innisfail, Alta.) assisted on the goal for his first of three helpers on the night.
Stephenson and de Waal then added two more power play goals before the second period was over.
Last, who was back in the lineup after missing three games due to a suspension, scored midway through third before Wheeler capped the scoring with TWU’s fourth power play goal of the game.
TWU has now outscored its opponents 18-4 over its last four games and hasn’t allowed more than one goal in any of those games.
The Spartans Jarrett Fontaine (Humboldt, Sask.) was held without a point for only the third time this year. He is now tied with Last, who had a two-point night Saturday, and Victoria’s Patrick Holland for second in the BCIHL scoring race. All three trail the Vikes Shawn Mueller by just one point, but with Victoria’s regular season over, TWU’s top scorers can take a run at the scoring title with two games remaining.
TWU has never had a player win the BCIHL’s points race.