Trinity Western men’s hockey team earned their second straight BCIHL title after a dominant 9-1 win in Game 2 of the championship series over the Vancouver Island Mariners Friday at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre.
Spartans captain Kaleb Denham (Innisfail, Alta.) had three assists in the game, while Evan Last (Surrey, B.C.) and Brayden Brown (Calgary) both scored two goals for TWU. Elijah Vilio (Aldergrove), Jordan Bogress (Vancouver), Logan Casavant (Melfort, Sask.), Dylan Cusmano (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Brandon Potomak (Aldergrove) also scored for the Spartans. Kobe Oishi scored VIU’s lone goal.
The Spartans become the first BCIHL team to win back-to-back championships since Selkirk captured four in a row from 2013 to 2016.
As an athletic department, Trinity Western has now won a championship (BCIHL or U SPORTS) in each of the last 11 years.
The championship caps an impressive season in which TWU took the regular season title with an 18-5-0-1 record before mowing through the playoffs with four straight wins.
TWU has now won eight straight postseason games, having also won all four playoffs games en route to last year’s title. Over the last two years, including the regular season and playoffs, TWU has a record of 47-8-0-1.
Brown opened the scoring in game one with 6:59 to go in the first. Last scored just over two minutes later on the powerplay to make it 2-0 for the Spartans heading into the first intermission.
The power play continued to produce for TWU in the second period after Last added his second goal of the game at 12:38 of the second period. After VIU forward Alex Milligan received a game misconduct for a hit to the head of Spartans forward Potomak, both Brown and Casavant scored powerplay goals to make it 5-0 for TWU.
With 3:17 left in the second frame, Oishi scored a shorthanded goal for VIU, cutting the Spartans lead to four.
It was all TWU into the third period, as Cusmano, Potomak and Vilio put up goals of their own to push the Spartans lead to 8-1. Bogress tipped a Kaleb Denham (Innisfail, Alta.) point shot with 41 seconds left in the game to put the finishing touches on the victory.
TWU finished Game 2 going 4 for 7 on the power play (57%), while VIU finished 0 for 5.
TWU Head Coach Barret Kropf
“It’s pretty surreal. VIU played great today, and the score doesn’t necessarily indicate that. They played right to the end, they never gave up and kept battling, and that’s a sign of a great program. I remember being in that position. We were there five years ago and we didn’t give up and just look at where we are now.
“This was the best game of the year for us. We were dominant from start to finish. VIU played their best but our guys were deserving of this after such a strong effort. We were disciplined and we used our speed. Having guys like (Kaleb) Denham, (Jake) Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) and (Florian) Niedermaier (Davos, Switzerland) who have built this culture of excellence is incredible and here we are – winning two championships in a row.”
• The Spartans 9-1 win marked the largest margin of victory for the Spartans this season. TWU’s record improved to 11-1-0-1 all-time over VIU.
• The Spartans finished the night with 37 shots on net, while the Mariners had 17.
• The Mariners were playing in just the third playoff series in team history and their first BCIHL championship in just their second season in the BCIHL.
• The Spartans were a perfect 8-0 against the Mariners this season, 6-0 in the regular season and 2-0 through the playoffs.
• VIU’s last win over TWU came on February 24th, 2018 (6-5 OT).
• The Spartans earned back-to-back championships, after also winning last years BCIHL championship series 2-0 over Selkirk College.