A late third period push wasn’t enough as the Trinity Western Spartans fell 3-2 to Vancouver Island Sunday at Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Despite trailing by as much as three goals in the third period, the Spartans nearly mounted an impressive comeback with two goals in the final 11 minutes of play. It was the first time Trinity Western has suffered consecutive losses in regulation since falling to Simon Fraser and Selkirk College Jan. 26 and Jan. 31, 2019.
Josh Bruce (Surrey, B.C.) and Evan Last (Surrey, B.C.) each scored for TWU (17-3-0-1), while goaltender Lucas Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) made 22 saves in his second start in as many nights.
Ronnie Wilkie, Adam Morton, and Garrett Dunlop had goals for the Mariners, who improved to 11-7-0-2 on the season with their second consecutive win over TWU.
Wilkie put the Mariners on the board first just 2:08 into the game with a shot that beat Mills to make it 1-0 in favour of Vancouver Island. Morton then extended the Mariners lead to 2-0 with a goal in the final 15 seconds of the first period.
Mills then stopped all 15 second period shots-against for TWU, as the Spartans trailed just two goals heading into the third period.
Dunlop then extended the lead to three goals for the home side with his league-leading 14th goal of the season at the 2:09 mark of the third frame. TWU however fought back, as Bruce scored with an even 11 minutes left to play to make it 3-1.
Just over two minutes later the Spartans struck again, as leading scorer Last potted his 13th goal to make it 3-2 with 8:56 left.
Despite a number of late chances, the Spartans comeback fell short as Vancouver Island held on for the 3-2 victory.
Mariners goaltender Matt Huber made 38 saves for the win.
Both the Spartans and Mariners went 0 for 3 on the man advantage.
Barret Kropf – TWU Head Coach
“Today was a pretty good hockey game. Vancouver Island is fighting hard for a home playoff date, and full credit to them for coming out and battling hard in two straight games against us. We played good hockey, and we had opportunities that are evident in the overall shot count tonight, but Huber made some big saves late to give them the win.
“We’re in a situation where our guys know how to win games and play our style, so we’re going to get some guys back to full health and get back to our usual ways.”