Just over a minute into overtime, Simon Fraser’s Cole Plotnikoff scored the game-winning goal to secure a 4-3 win over Trinity Western in the opening game of the Captains Cup Saturday at the George Preston Arena.
Plotnikoff found an opening early on in overtime, broke in alone on TWU netminder Lucas Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) and buried the winning goal.
The win puts SFU in good position heading into its game with UBC next weekend. A win against the Thunderbirds would give the Clan the Captains Cup.
After SFU had taken a 3-2 lead at 11:21 of the third period on a goal from Ian Mackey, TWU’s Kade Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.) tied the game just 36 seconds later on a breakaway, deking SFU goalie Ryan Sandrin and roofing the puck from his backhand.
Mills finished the night with 35 saves, while Sandrin took the win making 37 stops.
SFU opened the scoring early in the first period on a fortuitous bounce that saw a Mitch Ledyard cross-crease pass deflect off a TWU skate and into the net.
However, the Spartans responded with a pair of goals late in the opening frame. Jarrett Fontaine (Humboldt, Sask.) capitalized on a power play at 18:02 of the first period, scoring TWU’s first goal of the preseason. Just 25 seconds later, he scored again, tapping in his own rebound to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
The Clan evened the score 2-2 with just over six minutes to play in the second period, with Matthew Berry-Lamontagna scoring for the visitors.
TWU Head Coach Barret Kropf
“I thought we were strong in the first period and both teams were really flying. It oddly felt almost like a playoff game. But then we slowed down a bit in the second period and in the third period, I just didn’t think we played at the pace we know we can. We have a ton of new players in the lineup, so it takes a bit of time to adjust to this level and the physicality of this league. I think it’s going to be a strong year for this league, with parity across the board, and tonight was an example of the intensity that can be expected on a nightly basis.
“Obviously Junior (Mills) played well and held us in there with some key saves, especially in the first and second period. It was exciting to see him be that guy for us in the net and really come up big on a few occasions.”