Mar 16 2013
Selkirk College capped off an improbable season with an unbelievable comeback on Saturday night in Nelson, battling back from two goals down in the second period to beat Simon Fraser University by a 3-2 score in overtime.
With the win, the Saints swept the best-of-three series and captured their first B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League championship.
The Clan opened the scoring late in the first when Kale Wild converted on a penalty shot after a Saints player was judged to have closed his hand on the puck in the goal crease. And SFU extended their lead early in the middle frame when former Seattle Thunderbirds forward Brendan Silvester took a cross ice pass from Jono Ceci and beat Selkirk netminder Alex Sirard with a one-timer shot just inside the post.
But as they've done on a number of occasions this season, the Saints re-grouped and hit the comeback trail. Their first of the night came with 3:21 remaining in the second period when Thomas Hardy banged home a loose puck in front of the SFU net with assists to linemates Cody Fidgett and Mason Spear.
The momentum seemed to change with that goal, as Selkirk took command in the third period and forced SFU starter Graeme Gordon into making a number of athletic saves. Gordon couldn't stop them all, however, as Saints captain Jordan Wood capitalized on a scramble in the Clan slot and scored high to the glove side to tie the game.
The hosts had numerous opportunities to win the game in regulation, including a breakaway by Wood with three minutes on the clock, and out-shot SFU by a 10-1 margin over the course of the period.
Selkirk seemed to maintain their momentum in overtime and ended the game just 3:11 into the extra frame when Cody Fidgett pounced on a neutral zone turnover and beat Gordon from a tight angle to win the game, the series and the championship.
"Over the course of the season our guys really committed to a 'never-say-die' attitude and that determination was the difference tonight," says Saints head coach Jeff Dubois. "We were down two goals in the second but as a group everybody bore down and worked even harder. After we got the first one there was a strong belief that it was just a matter of time, and ultimately the boys were rewarded for a tremendous effort against a very good team."
Alex Sirard picked up his fourth consecutive postseason win after stopping 20 shots on the night. The 21-year old allowed just three goals in those four games, including a shutout in Game 1 on Friday night. Gordon took his second loss of the series despite another strong performance.
The win caps a true rags-to-riches season for Selkirk College after finishing last in the BCIHL standings a year ago. The Saints set new league records for wins and points during the 2012/13 campaign, strung together a 13-game winning streak and beat SFU -- the league's traditional powerhouse -- in all six of their meetings during the regular season and playoffs.
The Nelson and District Community Complex proved a welcoming host for the Saints following a scheduling conflict at the team's regular home rink in Castlegar. Over 1,000 fans took in the games on Friday and Saturday and provided a great atmosphere all weekend.
Second-year Saints Jordan Wood, Nick Cecconi, Justin Sotkowy and Sandro Moser lifted the BCIHL championship trophy in their final game with Selkirk College. All four will graduate from the Business program this spring. It was also the final collegiate game for Ben Starbuck, who joined the team in September following four seasons of college hockey in Alberta.
The Saints are the third team to capture a BCIHL championship, as the previous six wins had been split equally by SFU and the University of Victoria -- the two teams that Selkirk beat this postseason.