LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Victoria 4-3 in Game 2 of their best-of-three semifinal, completing a series sweep of the Vikes Saturday at the George Preston Recreation Centre.
Trailing 3-1 midway through the second period, the Spartans scored three goals in just over five minutes to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
TWU held off a surging Vikes side in the third period to move on to the league championship for the fourth time in the last five years.
Dustin Deugau (Calgary) launched the rally with a goal at 12:53 of the second period before Brandon Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.) tallied just 46 seconds later.
Then, with 2:01 left in the second period, Brayden Brown (Calgary) scored what would stand up as the game-winning goal.
TWU goalie Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) made 20 saves in the win, while Vikes netminder Zack Wear stopped 47 of the 51 shots he faced.
Landed Matechuk scored the first two goals for Victoria, while Thierry Martin had the Vikes third goal of the night. The Spartans Evan Last (Surrey, B.C.) scored TWU's first goal of the contest.
The Spartans will be seeking their first-ever league title as they face Selkirk in the best-of-three championship series, starting Thursday at the George Preston Recreation Centre (7 p.m.). Game 2 will be Friday (7 p.m.) and Game 3, if necessary, will be Saturday (7 p.m.), with all games at the George Preston Recreation Centre.
Matechuk got the Vikes on the board at 4:57 of the first period converting a cross-crease pass from Austin Wellsby off the rush. Matechuk doubled the Vikes lead just over five minutes later when he was sprung in along by Dylan Grant and knocked it past Matthys for his second of the game.
Late in the first period, Last got one back for the Spartans, banging home his own rebound.
Despite the Spartans carrying the play, the Vikes restored their two-goal edge early in the second period, when Martin capitalized on a breakaway chance, jumping out of the penalty box, taking a stretch pass and beating Matthys.
However, TWU, who missed on three breakaways in the second period alone, finally exploded for three goals in a span of 5:06 to take a 4-3 lead.
Deugau got things going when he took a centering feed from Jordan Rendle (Surrey, B.C.) and slammed it past Wear.
Potomak then equalized, deflecting a pass from Elijah Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.) into the back of the net.
Late in the period, Vilio set up Brown off the rush with the Spartans rookie roofing a quick shot to the short side over Wear's glove, which capped a wild second period that saw TWU outshoot Victoria 21-4.
Head Coach Barret Kropf
"Whenever you have to defeat the defending champion, it's a tall order and UVIC was full measure as the defending champions. They came out full of motivation and courage and played a great game and were opportunistic. They gave themselves a chance to win and had stellar goaltending. I think it was great for our guys to face that adversity and battle through it and realize how hard it is to win a championship.
"I thought there were lots of guys who played well and our top line continues to do what they need to do. Our defensive core got their game composed in the second and third period to get us some stability."
• The Spartans played Selkirk in the BCHIL championship in 2013-14 and 2015-16, losing both series, which were played in Castlegar, B.C., in two games each.
• TWU beat Selkirk in last year's semifinals on home ice, which ended the Saints four-year championship run.
• Including the playoffs, TWU was 7-0 against Victoria this year, outscoring the Vikes 43-15.
• The semifinal series with Victoria was 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.