Trinity Western University men’s hockey squad rang in 2016 with a swing through the American Midwest to take on NCAA teams.
Jan. 1 saw the TWU men take a 1-0 loss to the NCAA Div. I Wisconsin Badgers in Madison in an exhibition match.
“We played quite well considering we had not have a game in almost a month. It’s tough to get up to game speed against a Big Ten team like Wisconsin,” said TWU head coach Barret Kropf. “Our penalty kill was strong again, and our power play was good, but had a little bit of difficulty with the bigger ice.”
Spartan goalie Silas Matthys was impressive between the pipes for TWU as he held Wisconsin off of the score sheet for much of the game as he finished 48 saves on the afternoon.
“Silas played in his typical fashion making big saves and keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win,” said Kropf.
Wisconsin finished with 49 shots on goal to TWU’s 17. The Spartans were 0-3 on the power play, while the Badgers were 0-2. The Badgers had a 40-18 advantage in the Faceoff circle.
Things didn’t get any better in Nebraska where the Spartans ended up with a 6-0 loss against the No. 6 ranked Omaha Mavericks Jan. 2.
“They are a great club and there is a reason they are a top ranked team and they should be higher ranked their current No. 6 in the NCAA,” the coach said. “We were probably a little tired at the start of the game, after driving all night to Omaha, and they took advantage of a few broken plays. But we were able to settle down and push back as the game went on.”
TWU third year goaltender Silas Matthys made 44 saves but they were up against a highly ranked school.
“Coming home after a disappointing loss is tough, but the guys are up after our performance against Wisconsin and being pushed against a strong Omaha team,” Kropf said. We are looking forward to getting back into league action in Victoria and it is great that we are coming home without any major injuries. Trips like this allow us to see our growth, both as a team and as a league.”
The Spartans head to Victoria for games Jan. 8 and 9.