LANGLEY, B.C. – The Trinity Western men's hockey team capped their regular season with a 6-3 win over Victoria Friday on Senior Athlete Appreciation Night at the Langley Events Centre.
In a preview of their upcoming playoff series with the Vikes, the Spartans (21-3-0-1), who had already clinched first place in the BCIHL standings, were the better team from the outset, scoring twice in the first period and twice again in the second before holding on for the win.
Elijah Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.) had a hat-trick for the Spartans, while Dirk de Waal (Lethbridge, Alta.), Brayden Brown (Calgary) and Dylan Sakatch (Calgary) tallied singles. Brandon Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.) had three assists.
The win put the finishing touches on the best regular season record in Spartans history, as they bettered their 17-5-0-2 record in 2014-15. The Vikes dropped to 8-14-0-2.
The Spartans open the playoffs with Game 1 of their semifinal series Mar. 9 in Victoria before returning home to host the Vikes in Game 2 Mar. 10. If necessary, Game 3 will be Monday, Mar. 12 in Langley.
Matthys finished the night with 24 saves, capping his career with a BCIHL-record 51 wins.
Austin Wellsby scored twice for the Vikes, while Brandon Volpe scored one.
Vikes goalie Zach Wear made 33 saves in the loss.
Vilio opened the scoring at 13:49 of the first period, before de Waal doubled TWU's lead late in the frame, scoring on a penalty shot with a nifty move to his backhand.
The Spartans went ahead 3-0 midway through the second period, with Vilio whipping a shot past Wear off the rush. With 1:24 left in the period, Brown scored shorthanded to send the Spartans into the dressing room with a four-goal lead.
Wellsby scored early in the third period, but Vilio completed the hat-trick midway through the final frame. Sakatch and Volpe traded goals in the last few minutes.
With the win, TWU finished their season series against the Vikes with a perfect 5-0 record, outscoring Victoria 31-11.
Head Coach Barret Kropf
"The first 20, we got away from good habits. That's always the danger in a game that means nothing in the standings. You saw our guys making plays that we can't be making going into the playoffs. I think between periods, we made a few adjustments with that and I thought they responded well. For the last 40 minutes, I thought we saw good habits, other than 10 minutes of awkwardness in the third period, with a bunch of penalties.
"The one line with Eli, Brown and Potomak is really clicking and getting deeper scoring going into the playoffs is never a bad thing.
"Victoria is a resilient team. They showed us that last year in the playoffs. We are not taking this next series for granted in any way, shape or form."
• The semifinal series with Victoria is a rematch of last year's BCIHL championship series, which the Vikes won in a deciding Game 3 at the Langley Events Centre.
• The Vikes moved into a playoff position after Simon Fraser was forced to forfeit 11 games due to playing an academically ineligible player.