MEN’S HOCKEY TAKES ON TOP RANKED NCAA DIV. I OPPONENTS

MEN’S HOCKEY
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2014
WEEKEND PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEN’S HOCKEY TAKES ON TOP RANKED NCAA DIV. I OPPONENTS
 
LANGLEY, British Columbia – This weekend, the Trinity Western men’s hockey team will take on two of the best college hockey teams in the NCAA as the Spartans travel to Minnesota to play Division I teams St. Cloud State Saturday and Minnesota State, Mankato Saturday.

This weekend will mark the first time the Spartans men’s hockey team has ever played an NCAA Division I opponent and it’ll do so by jumping immediately into the deep end, as both teams are ranked amongst the top 15 in the country.  

St. Cloud State enters the 2014-15 season ranked No. 6/7 in the nation – the Huskies are No. 6 in the USA Hockey/USA Today preseason poll and No. 7 in the USCHO.com poll – while Minnesota State opens this year’s campaign slotted in at No. 13 in both rankings.

Last year, the Huskies, who play in the NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference), made it to the second round of the NCAA Division I 16-team national championship tournament, beating Notre Dame before losing to Minnesota, while the Mavericks, who play in the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association), lost in the first round of the tournament, falling to UMass-Lowell.

While TWU will have its hands full this weekend, the Spartans are prepared for the challenge.

“We’re trying to teach our guys that no matter who our opponent is – if they’re a top team or bottom team – we simply just have to be prepared,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf. “We’re not looking at statistics or rankings, it’s just, ‘Who’s next on the schedule?’ and let’s get ready for them.

“On paper, they have a couple of draft picks, but, in reality, they pack their own stick bags. They’re not travelling on some space ship. They’re eating food. It’s not some magic potions that they get because they’re NCAA. They’re playing hockey, just like we are. Yea, it’s a big weekend in terms of who we’re playing and it’s a great opportunity for our league and our program but, really, it’s just another opponent.

“At the end of the day, we need to prepare excellently and we have to deliver excellence. We’ve got this opportunity and I think we’re going to make the most it.”

While it’ll be the first time the Spartans are playing either of these teams, the players on St. Cloud State and Minnesota State might not be entirely unfamiliar, as both teams have plenty of B.C. flavour. Minnesota State has seven players who formerly played in the BCHL, while St. Cloud State has four BCHL graduates, including Tim Daly, who played with Langley from 2008 to 2011.

The Mavericks return nine of their top 11 scorers from last year, including seniors Matt Leitner, who led the Mavericks in scoring with 12 goals and 33 assists in 39 games, and JP Lafontaine – nephew of former NHLer Pat Lafontaine – who was second in team scoring with 20 goals and 20 assists.

For the Huskies, five of their top six scorers are back from last year, including juniors Jonny Brodzinksi, who led the team in scoring last season with 21 goals and 20 assists in 38 games, and Kalle Kossila, who was tied for second on the team in scoring with 13 goals and 27 assists.

The Spartans, who opened their BCIHL schedule with a win and a loss on the road in Victoria, are 2-3 so far this year, including their two regular season contests and three exhibition games.

-TW-

Last Updated: 2014-10-01
Author: Mark Janzen

Upcoming

DateGameTime
Mh10-11SELKIRK*19:00:00
Mh10-17SIMON FRASER*19:00:00
Mh10-18@Simon Fraser*19:00:00
Mh10-24SELKIRK*19:00:00
Mh10-25VICTORIA*13:00:00
Mh10-31VICTORIA*19:00:00
Mh11-14SELKIRK*19:00:00
Mh11-21@Eastern Washington*19:00:00
Mh11-22@Eastern Washington*19:00:00
Mh11-29@Simon Fraser*19:00:00
Mh12-05EASTERN WASHINGTON*19:00:00
Mh01-09@Selkirk*19:00:00
Mh01-10@Selkirk*19:00:00
Mh01-16SIMON FRASER*19:00:00
Mh01-22SIMON FRASER*19:00:00
Mh01-23VICTORIA*19:00:00
Mh01-30EASTERN WASHINGTON*19:00:00
Mh02-06@Victoria19:30:00
Mh02-07@Victoria12:30:00
Mh02-14@Simon Fraser*19:00:00

Our Scores

DateGameRS
Mh10-05@Minnesota MankatoL12-1
Mh10-04@St. Cloud StateL8-0
Mh09-27@Victoria*L4-3
Mh09-26@Victoria*W9-3
Mh09-20Eastern Washington (Castlegar, B.C.)L5-2
Mh09-19@Selkirk (Trail, B.C.)L9-0
Mh09-12SIMON FRASERW4-3
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