The Trinity Western Spartans improved to .500 with a 3-2 win over the Victoria Vikes Saturday night in BCIHL action at the Ian Stewart Complex in Victoria.
The Spartans second year defenseman Kaleb Denham got the power play game winner in the third period as TWU rallied from a two-goal deficit to improve to 1-1 on the season, while dropping the Vikes to 1-1.
“It was a great way to open up the season coming over to the island and getting a split. Last night the effort was there, but we just had to clean up some mistakes. We cleaned things up and tonight was a full 60 minute effort by 20 guys who just refused to stop working hard, which is what I love about this group of players,” TWU head coach Barret Kropf said. “Full credit to UVic: they are the hardest working team in the BCIHL and we know that we are going to have to match their effort if we are going to beat them.”
The Vikes opened the scoring on the power play at 10:18 of the opening when Landen Matechuk put in a rebound from Patrick Holland point shot.
Victoria would take the 1-0 lead into the locker room after outshooting TWU 9-8 in the opening 20 minutes.
Victoria’s Liam Shaw made it a two goal lead thanks to the hard work of Holland. Holland took the puck out of the corner and weaved through the Spartans. While heading to the net he found an open Shaw on the left side to give the Vikes a 2-0 lead.
After the second goal the Spartans forecheck applied more pressure to the Vikes.
Spartan rookie forward Evan Last got TWU on the board at 6:24 of the period.
TWU dumped the puck into the Vikes end where Victoria tried to clear the puck around the boards. Last picked up the puck near the left blue line and then skated toward the middle of the ice, where he shot from high slot through traffic, to beat UVICs goalie Zach Weir to make the score 2-1.
The Spartans tied the game at 11:15 of the period as their forecheck picked off a Vikes clearing pass. First year forward Jarrett Fontaine (Humbolt, Sask.) ended up with the puck and passed to second year defenseman Deryk Kirchener (Sherwood Park, Alta.). As he was falling down in between the top of the circles, Kirchner fired the puck towards the Victoria net were Evan Last got the rebound and put the puck in the right side of the Vikes net to tie the game.
TWU would outshoot Victoria 9-7 in the period, with the game tied at 2-2 heading into the final period.
TWU’s Denham got the game winner at 7:18 of the third period. Trinity Western once again sent the puck in the Victoria end and around the boards from right side. The Spartans Last picked up the puck in left corner and circled towards blue line, where he feeds an open Dehman. Dehman took a stride and then fired a wrist shot from the left side past Victoria’s Weir to give TWU the 3-2 lead.
The final two minutes were frantic as the Vikes had a power play and pulled their goalie to have a 6-on-4 advantage. But TWU third year goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) and the Spartans defence were up to the challenge as TWU held on for the 3-2 win.
Matthys made 26 saves to earn the win, while Victoria’s Weir made 24 saves in the loss.
The Spartans will now return home to host the Selkirk Saints on Friday, Oct. 14. Puck drop against the defending BCIHL champions is set for 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
FINAL BUZZER: The Vikes finished the night outshooting the Spartans 28-27. TWU was 1-4 on the power play, while Victoria was 1-6, TWU lost 4-3 to Victoria on Friday night.