The Trinity Western University Spartans claimed its first ever British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) championship with a two-game sweep of the Selkirk College Saints.
Veteran Spartans goaltender Silas Matthys was stellar in shutting down the Saints’ potent offence in the best-of-three championship series as he paced his team to a 5-1 win on Thursday night and a 4-1 series-clinching victory on Friday. Going for their fifth BCIHL championship, the Saints were overpowered by a strong TWU club determined to make history for their school.
“The boys competed hard and there was no quit to our team,” says Saints head coach Brent Heaven. “They showed that they were in the finals for a reason and they deserved to be there. In the end, Trinity Western had a championship team and we were just a little bit short. But the way we played all season, right to the end… I’m extremely proud of this team.”
Selkirk College Saints veteran forward Dane Feeney works hard in the Trinity Western University zone in Thursday night’s 5-1 loss. The Saints could not tame the Spartans’ attack in the BCIHL final and lost the championship final in two straight. (photo courtesy Mark Janzen/Trinity Western University).
In Thursday night’s championship series opener, the Spartans jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Jordan Rendle beat Selkirk College starter Patrick Zubick three minutes into the first period. First-year Saints forward Parker Sharp evened the score four minutes later on the powerplay when he got one past a stingy Matthys. Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, the Saints peppered the TWU with 14 shots, but could not find the back of the net.
“We put a tonne of shots on the net, with more than 80 in the two games,” Heaven says. “To only be able to score two goals over the series, Silas Matthys was obviously a major factor in the outcome.”
Trinity Western University a Powerhouse
Facing a must-win, the Saints came out firing in Game Two on Friday night with 22 shots in the opening period, but it was Trinity Western who emerged with the 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. Saints captain Dallas Calvin cut the deficit to 2-1 with a powerplay goal in the middle frame, but the Spartans were determined to avenge losses in the championship finals in both 2016 and 2017 and cemented the victory with a pair of goals on Zubick in the third period.
“They have program which benefits from players that play four or five years at this level… guys like Matthys and [former Selkirk College Saints defenceman] Stefan Gonzales,” says Heaven. “Most of our guys are here for one or two years, so a team like Trinity Western is able to build a lot of chemistry and it showed.”
The Saints won four straight BCIHL championships between 2013 and 2016, earning the most recent over Trinity Western University.