Aldergrove’s Lucas Mills made 25 saves to pick up the victory as the Langley-based Trinity Western Spartans opened their 2019-20 regular season with an emphatic win over the Vancouver Island Mariners Saturday (Oct. 12) at the Langley Events Centre. (TWU photo)

Spartans defeat Mariners in overtime thriller

Langley-based hockey team opens 2019-20 regular season with an emphatic win

Aldergrove’s Kade Vilio tallied the game winning goal with 48 seconds left in the overtime frame as the Trinity Western Spartans opened their 2019-20 regular season with an 5-4 win over the Vancouver Island Mariners Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Josh Bruce, Aldergrove’s Elijah Vilio, Travis Verveda and Evan Last also scored for the Spartans, while goaltender Lucas Mills, also from Aldergrove, made 25 saves to pick up the victory.

VIU’s Brett Witala had two goals, while Gage Colpron and Garrett Dunlop each added singles.

Jeremy Balyk made 40 saves for the Mariners in the loss, as VIU’s record dropped to 2-2-0-1 on the year.

First-year TWU forward Bruce opened the scoring at 6:16 of the first period, tallying his first career goal off a backhand.

Witala then responded for the Mariners on the power play, scoring his third goal of the season to make it 1-1 at 10:20 of the first. Dunlop then added another for the Mariners with just over three minutes left in the first making it 2-1 VIU.

The Mariners continued rolling in the second period, with captain Colpron taking a Dunlop feed and beating Mills to push their lead to two.

TWU got back within one goal at 6:25 of the second, as a Verveda one-timer on the powerplay beat Balyk to make it 3-2.

Another Spartans defenceman then knotted the game up 3-3, with Elijah Vilio jumping in on the rush with an individual effort at 10:01 of the second period.

Witala scored his second of the game for the Mariners at 6:39 of the final frame to regain the Mariners lead.

The back and forth affair continued as Last fired a wrist shot over Balyk’s glove hand to tie the game at 8:13 of the third.

Despite both teams having numerous chances late in the game, including a Mariners power play in the final five minutes, regulation time was unable to solve anything.

That set up the late game heroics.

After hitting the crossbar earlier in the extra frame, Bruce found Kade Vilio alone in front with 48 seconds left in overtime, who buried it five-hole past Balyk for the game-winner on opening night.

READ MORE: TWU Spartans goalie Mills sets record in hockey shutout

READ MORE: Langley’s Spartans to play hockey in top university league

TWU Coach Barret Kropf said the team has had “a very abnormal preseason playing lots of different teams at different levels, being banged up and short staffed.”

“That was reflective in tonight’s game, we had spurts of really good momentum and spurts where we didn’t,” Kropf elaborated.

“I wouldn’t say we had a bad game, but it just looked like we didn’t have the flow we usually do. There was some things tonight we definitely need to keep working on in practice.”

Saturday was the first meeting between VIU and TWU since last season’s BCIHL championship series, •

TWU has now extended their winning streak over Vancouver Island to nine consecutive games, with their last loss against the Mariners coming in Nanaimo on February 24, 2018 (6-5 L).

Spartans home opener was also their final as a member of the BCIHL as TWU will enter U SPORTS in 2020-21. Next up, Spartans continue their homestand on Friday (Oct. 18), playing host to Victoria at the Langley Events Centre.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aldergrove drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says the theatre could close

Langley pubs, restaurants can expand patios

Council approved a plan for more spread-out outdoor dining

Fire-damaged Villa Fontana to be torn down

Owners of Langley City building considering replacement

Mary’s British Home store closes in Langley City

Owner says store has been struggling since it relocated from Richmond

VIDEO: Surrey care workers hold demonstration of solidarity with Langley Lodge

‘We thought we would come out and show them some support and cheer them on’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Langley Advance Times to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Gabriel Klein’s sentencing delayed until September

Man convicted of killing Abbotsford high school student Letisha Reimer was set for June

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

Most Read