The Trinity Western men’s hockey team is off to its third straight BCIHL championship series after winning Game 2 of its BCIHL semifinal series over Simon Fraser by a 5-2 count Friday at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
Kenny Batke (Vernon, B.C.) scored what would stand as the game-winner with 3:54 left in the first period for the defending BCIHL champion Spartans, while Spencer Gerth (Langley, B.C.), Elijah Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.), Florian Niedermaier (Davos, Switzerland) and Brayden Brown (Calgary) also scored for TWU.
SFU forward Mitch Ledyard scored both goals for the Clan in the loss.
The Spartans will host the BCIHL’s best-of-three championship series, starting Thursday with Game 1 at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre against the winner of the other semifinal series between Vancouver Island University and Selkirk College. VIU won Game 1 by a 6-1 score in Selkirk.
TWU opened the scoring just 5:20 into the first period off a goal from Gerth. Vilio then scored 1:18 seconds later to make it 2-0 for the Spartans. With 3:54 left in the frame, Batke wired a shot past SFU goaltender Michael Lenko to make it 3-0.
Ledyard put the Clan on the board midway through the second period. However, the Spartans responded quickly after Niedermaier scored just 2:29 later to restore TWU’s three-goal cushion.
Ledyard scored his second of the game 5:39 into the final frame to cut SFU deficit to two goals. However, that would be it for the Clan, as the Spartans closed out the game with Brown scoring an empty-net goal with just three seconds left.
TWU goaltender Lucas Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) made 20 saves for the Spartans in the win, while Simon Fraser goaltender Lenko made 35 saves in the loss.
TWU finished 0 for 2 on the power play, while Simon Fraser finished 0 for 3.
TWU Head Coach Barret Kropf
“The guys played unbelievably well. We had some injuries coming out of last night’s game and we were a bit short staffed on the back end, but we were able to play really effectively anyways. Our penalty kill was particularly good. Coach Chris Trendall had some extra time to spend with our penalty killing group this week and our guys did a great job throughout the series of executing the plan. It was a pretty physical game tonight, but it was still pretty disciplined on both sides. Five-on-five, we were able to use our speed and play a responsible game.
“Both Lucas and Jacob Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) were excellent in the series and were our players of the game tonight. Lucas made some great stops to give us a chance to win and then Jake was blocking shots and getting on the scoreboard.”
The Spartans await the winner of the BCIHL’s other semifinal series between the Selkirk College Saints and the Vancouver Island University. They will open Game 1 of the championship series on March 14.