Spartans snap out of slump on seniors' night
Florian Niedermaier scored twice to lead the Trinity Western Spartans to a 4-1 victory over the Selkirk Saints.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the hockey team and TWU improved to 10-8-0-1 in the BCIHL standings.
The Spartans sit second in the league and are five points up on the Saints in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Both teams have five games remaining.
Niedermaier, who had opened the scoring, had to leave the game after taking a puck to the face. But after getting stitched up, he donned a cage and returned to score another goal and add an assist for a three-point game.
Dirk de Waal also had a three-point game with a goal and two assists. Jacob Mills had the other TWU goal while Jarrett Fontaine and Karsten Seidel finished with a pair of assists apiece.
Head coach Barret Kropf liked that his team showed some finish — something that has been lacking since the team returned from the holiday break and had just one win their previous four games with just eight goals combined in that span.
“For the first time in a long time, we capitalized on our chances early,” he said.
“Getting that early 2-0 lead gave us so much confidence going into the second period. They had a push back but our guys responded well.”
Looking back, Kropf said the team showed good signs during a practice earlier in the week.
“We had a moment in practice this week where we had a challenge drill and the level of play in that drill was like a playoff game. It was crazy,” he said.
“But now I look back at that drill and I think that was a bit of a turning point for us.”
Kropf was also impressed by his team’s discipline.
“To be in a physical contest and stay that disciplined was another milestone for us,” he said.
The game also marked seniors’ night as the team honoured their eight graduating players: Silas Matthys, Cody Stephenson, Lucas Hildebrand, Aaron Gruenhage, Jamey Kreller, Brett Wur, Riley Schmidt and Andrew Wheeler.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday (Feb. 18) when they host the Victoria Vikes in their final home game of the season at the LEC. Game time is 12:30 p.m.