Spartans shock Clan, make finals
The Trinity Western Spartans pulled off the upset, knocking off the Simon Fraser Clan to advance to the championship series.
JP Villeneuve scored a hat trick and Silas Matthys stopped 40 of the 41 shots he faced as the Spartans beat the Clan 4-1 on Sunday in game three of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League semifinal series.
The Spartans had won game one last week 3-2 but the Clan stayed alive with a 2-0 game two victory.
The first game was at the Langley Events Centre while games two and three were at Burnaby’s Bill Copeland Arena.
The Clan (19-3-0-2, 40 points) finished 19 points ahead of the Spartans (10-13-0-1, 21 points) in the standings.
“Our guys were determined to outwork the talent and we got a great result because of it,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf.
“We’re a bunch of guys with our lunch buckets and willing to go to work from Silas all the way out.
“There was a full effort from all 20 guys tonight and we’re pretty excited from the program.”
Jamie Russell had opened the scoring in game three.
For the series, Villeneuve had five of his team’s seven goals, while Matthys stopped 110 of the 115 shots he faced, a save percentage of .957.
The victory advances the Spartans to face the top-seed Selkirk Saints in the BCIHL championship series. The best-of-three series is set for March 14 to 16 with the games all at the Castelgar Recreation Centre.
Villeneuve was named the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League’s rookie of the year and the forward was also the co-recipient of the league’s most valuable player award.
He shared that honour Selkirk Saints’ Logan Proulx.
And Kropf was a co-recipient of the league’s coach of the year award, sharing with Selkirk’s Jeff Dubois.
Villenueve carried the Spartans offensively during his first season or university hockey, finishing third in the league in goals with 21 and seventh in points with 33.
Both of those numbers were tops among all rookies.
He also had five multi-goal games over the season, including five in one game on Jan. 25 against the Victoria Vikes.
Kropf was in his first season behind the bench for the Spartans and the team improved by four wins and seven points over the season before, jumping from last place to third place.
He is the first coach to win the award in both the BCIHL and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
Kropf won in that league in 2005/06 while coaching at Briercrest.
The team also landed two players on the league all-star team.
Villeneuve was named a first team all-star while defenceman Blair Murphy was a second team selection.