The BC Intercollegiate Hockey League hosted yet another exciting playoff game to watch on Friday evening.
Trinity Western University Spartans played home to Selkirk College Saints in game two of playoff action and ended up winning the league championship for the first time in the university’s history. TWU made it 5-1 and 4-1 in the playoff series.
Playing in their fourth championship series in the last five years, the Spartans scored twice in the first five minutes of the opening period and added two more in the first five minutes of the third period to seal an historic victory.
Jarrett Fontaine (Humboldt, Sask.) scored a hat-trick, tallying the first three goals for the Spartans before Evan Last (Surrey) put the game away with a goal early in the third period.
Selkirk’s Dallas Calvin scored Selkirk’s only goal when he got the Saints back within on midway through the second period with a power-play marker.
The series win also sees the Spartans turn the tides on Selkirk, who had knocked off TWU in the championship series in both 2013-14 and 2015-16.
Fifth-year TWU goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) made 41 saves, with the winningest goalie in BCIHL history capping his Spartans career with his first league championship.
Patrick Zubick made 38 saves in a losing effort.
Coming off a program-best 21-3-0-1 regular season, the Spartans earned the double, winning both the regular season and playoff title.
TWU finished the playoffs by outscoring its opponents 21-6 in four postseason victories.
The Spartans finished the year beating the Saints in six straight outings, capping the regular season with four consecutive wins before the championship series sweep.
Similar to Game 1, the Spartans got on the board early with Fontaine scoring at 2:17 of the opening frame, knocking home his own rebound to spark the home side.
Just over two minutes later, Fontaine tallied his second sending in a long shot that beat Zubick on the power play marker.
The Saints struck back with 6:26 left in the middle frame, with Calvin whipping a point shot past Matthys with the man-advantage.
With Selkirk pressing for an equalizer, Matthys came up huge with just over a minute left in the second period, as he stymied Selkirk’s Parker Sharp on a breakaway.
Then, just 2:40 into the third period, Fontaine gave the Spartans an insurance marker before Last put TWU up by three at 4:48 of the final frame, burying the Saints for good.
TWU was 1 for 8 on the power play, while Selkirk was 1 for 5.
“We’ve said all along that if you do the right things for the right reason, the byproduct will be winning,” said head coach Barret Kropf.
“From day one when we stepped in, we said that we were going to play for the Lord and we’re going to honour him with everything. We’ve done that. These guys proved that you can play in a way that honours the Lord, and we don’t need to apologize for that. This group of guys took that to heart and everything they did was to honour God. We didn’t win because of that, but we do things that honour him and when you do that you’re hard to beat. We were a hard team to beat this year,” he said.
TWU won four of its five meetings with Selkirk during the regular season, and the coach described Friday’s win as “surreal.”
TWU has now ended Selkirk’s season in back-to-back years after beating the Saints in the semifinals last year. This was the third time in the last five years, Selkirk and TWU have met in the BCIHL final.
“You work so hard all year and in the off-season and suddenly it’s over and we’ve won a championship,” Kropf said.
“I thought tonight, that was a championship level game. All congrats to Selkirk on a great season.There are lots of players there who know what it takes to win a championship and they pushed us really hard tonight. For our locker room, we had some guys who really led well. All of our senior splayed great. But really, it was a team effort and that’s how we have played all year. You couldn’tfind a guy in our locker room who is selfish. We’ve realized now that it takes a full season of commitment to training and the classroom and nutrition and all that other stuff and tonight is a culmination of that. This is a pretty special group of guys.”
This weekend’s series was a rematch of last year’s semifinals, in which TWU beat Selkirk on home ice – a series victory that ended the Saints four-year championship run.