Split for Spartans hockey team

The Trinity Western Spartans men
The Trinity Western Spartans men's hockey team celebrates a goal during their 4-2 victory over the Victoria Vikes on Feb. 1 at the Langley Events Centre. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they dropped a 7-0 decision to the Vikes the next night.
— image credit: TWU Athletic Department

Hoping to gain ground in the race for the final playoff spot, the Trinity Western Spartans instead settled for a weekend split with the Victoria Vikes.

The Vikes left the weekend the same way they entered: with a six-point lead in the race for the final playoff spot in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League standings.

The Spartans had inched closer thanks to a 4-2 win on Friday but the Vikes responded with a 7-0 win the next day. Both games were at the Langley Events Centre.

“The execution wasn’t there,” said TWU coach Dwayne Lowdermilk.

“Turnovers killed us. Our power play wasn’t good enough and neither were our breakaouts.

“We can say we didn’t get breaks or bounces, but we didn’t stay out of the box enough and it just wasn’t the same team that played Friday.”

In Friday’s game, the Spartans were ahead 3-0 midway through the third and after the Vikes scored a pair of quick goals to get within a goal, TWU called a timeout, settled themselves and then scored an insurance goal on the power play.

Blair Murphy, Mattias Schmitt, Jamey Kreller and Jordan Magnuson had the Spartan goals.

"It's all about the middle of the ice," Lowdermilk said.

"We took it away and pushed them to the outside.

"In the first period and a little bit at the end, we gave up a little more in the slot than we wanted, but overall, it was a job well done by the boys."

After  Kreller put the home side up 3-0 midway through the third and the Spartans held off a late Vikes push that saw them get within a goal.

"After they scored two quick goals, we called a timeout and just said that this is where character is built," Lowdermilk said.

"We believe right now we're building the walls back up and we've got until March 2 to get it done.

"(This) was one more step towards that."

Magnuson would snuff out the rally with a power-play goal for the 4-2 final score.

The split leaves the team with a 4-13-0-1 record.

They host Thompson Rivers on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the LEC.

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