by Mark Janzen
March 16, 2014, CASTLEGAR, British Columbia (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team saw its season come to an end in Game 2 of the BCIHL championship series as the Spartans lost to Selkirk in 5-1 Saturday and, having lost Friday’s series-opener, watched the Saints capture the league title.
Playing at the Castlegar Recreation Complex, the home side earned its second straight BCIHL championship.
Despite the loss, the Spartans, who were playing in their first ever championship series, finished second in the BCIHL post-season for the first time in program history.
Similar to Friday’s game, the Saints scored three first period goals before TWU responded with its lone tally in the second. A late second-period goal from Selkirk and an early third-period marker put the game out of reach.
Selkirk’s Marcus McCrea, Scott Swiston and Logan Proulx scored in the first period while Connor McLaughlin tallied in the second and Jackson Garrett earned the Saints fifth marker early in the third.
The Spartans Blair Murphy (Surrey, B.C.) scored TWU’s only goal at 12:03 of the second when he tipped a Cody Stephenson (Aldergrove, B.C.) shot past Saints goalie Chris Hurry. Brad Bakken (Langley) also had an assist on the play.
TWU goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) made 38 saves on 43 shots while Hurry stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced.
“I thought our guys responded well in this game,” said Spartans coach Barrett Kropf. “We got into some penalty trouble early in the first period and had to kill four penalties in the first 10 minutes and it was really difficult to get any flow going at that point. We killed off the first couple but then they capitalized on a few as well.
“After that point, we were chasing the rest of the game. I thought our guys competed well. They didn’t stop and they kept playing physical and they made Selkirk earn the championship. We battled to the final whistle, so I’m pretty proud of the boys for the way they finished.”
Less than five minutes into the first, McCrea opened the scoring for Selkirk.
Then, with the Spartans having taken the first four penalties of the game, the Saints capitalized with a pair of power play goals from Swiston and Proulx. Through 20 minutes, TWU trailed 3-0 and was outshot 20-6.
The Spartans got within two with Murphy’s goal midway through the second, which sparked a TWU surge. But, with 3:50 left in the second McLaughlin scored shorthanded, slowing the Spartans momentum and giving the Saints a 4-1 lead. Selkirk outshot TWU 15-6 in the middle stanza.
Only 3:21 into the third period, Garrett salted the game away with Selkirk’s fifth goal of the game and 11th of the two-game series.
The Saints won Game 1 by a 6-1 count Friday in Castlegar.
The Spartans earned the right to play in the championship series after beating Simon Fraser 2-1 in their best-of-three semifinal matchup.
Game Notes: TWU was 0 for 6 on the power play while Selkirk was 2 for 8…prior to this year, TWU had never finished higher than fourth in the BCIHL playoffs…two years ago, Selkirk and TWU were the two worst teams in the regular season and both missed the playoffs.