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TWU Spartans open regular hockey season with a 4-0 record

‘We can never afford not to bring our ‘A’ game’ coach says

Trinity Western Spartans opened the regular season with a 4-0 record for the first time in program history, earning a fourth straight win to start the year with a 4-1 victory over Selkirk Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

“I thought our guys did a good job of moving pucks quick and moving with speed,” said head coach Barret Kropf.

“I thought we carried the play for most of the game, but Selkirk blocked a lot of shots and they work hard. So, we weren’t by any stretch expecting a blowout, but it was sort of the game I thought our guys would play in terms of carrying momentum from the high level we played against the Gophers (last weekend in exhibition play against the University of Minnesota). We’re the bullseye on everyone’s calendar, so we can never afford not to bring our ‘A’ game and I thought the guys did a good job of that tonight.”

Dustin Deugau, Kade Vilio, Jacob Mills and Evan Last scored for TWU, while the Saints Josh Shatford tallied the lone marker for the visitors.

TWU’s Lucas Mills made 25 saves to earn the win. Mills now has a .938 save percentage and a 1.37 goal against average through four games. Selkirk’s Tallon Kramer stopped 38 of the 42 shots the Spartans fired his way.

After the Saints opened the scoring early in the first period, Deugau responded with a power play marker less than three minutes later, wristing a shot past Kramer, to spark the Spartans offensive foray.

Vilio tallied what would prove to be the game-winner at 5:21 of the second period, when he took a cross-crease pass off the rush from Last and buried it.

With 2:01 left in the middle frame, Mills put away an insurance marker when he found his way to a loose puck in the high slot and ripped it home.

Last rounded out the scoring with 4:28 to play in the third period, taking a feed in tight from Deugau and tucking it past Kramer.

TWU finished the night one for 4 on the power play, while Selkirk for 0 for 3.

This was the first time the Spartans met Selkirk since last season’s BCIHL Championship series, at which the Spartans took home the championship banner. TWU beat the Saints 5-1 (Game 1) and 4-1 (Game 2) to capture its first-ever league title.

The Spartans have a week off before returning to play Nov. 9 at home against Simon Fraser.

READ ALSO: Trinity Western women’s soccer team clinches first place in the Pacific Division

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