LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western moved within one win of its first-ever BCIHL title after winning Game 1 of the league championship series 5-1 over Selkirk Thursday at the George Preston Recreation Centre.
Brandon Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.) broke a 1-1 tie midway through the first period and that proved to be the game-winner, as TWU held off the Saints, with Spartans netminder Silas Matthys (Wollerau, Switzerland) making 31 saves for the win.
The Spartans took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission before tallying two more in the third period.
The teams will play Game 2 Friday at 7 p.m. (PT) back the George Preston Recreation Centre.
Brayden Brown (Calgary), Jordan Rendle (Surrey, B.C.), Dirk de Waal (Lethbridge, Alta.) and Florian Niedermaier (Davos, Switzerland) also scored for the Spartans.
Parker Sharp scored Selkirk's lone goal, tying the contest early in the first period after Rendle had opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game.
Selkirk's Patrick Zubick made 35 saves in the loss.
Coming off a sweep of Victoria in the BCIHL semifinals, in which the Spartans outscored the Vikes 12-3, TWU has now outscored its opposition 17-4 in the playoffs.
With both team flying early on, Spartans opened the scoring just 2:53 into the first period when Rendle snapped a shot past Zubick, whipping it in from the left circle off the rush.
Sharp equalized with a power-play marker at 7:04, sending a puck over the glove of Matthys.
Less than four minutes later, Potomak put the home side back on top for good, coming out from behind the net and tucking the puck short side on Zubick.
Then, with the Spartans on another power play late in the frame, Brown scored his third of the post-season, taking a cross ice pass from Kade Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.) and sending the puck into a wide open net.
After a scoreless second period, de Waal put the game away with a power play goal at 13:59 of the third period before Niedermaier sealed the win with an empty-netter.
TWU was two for seven on the power play, while Selkirk was one for five.
Head Coach Barret Kropf
"It was a solid 60 minutes. There were a few times where we scrambled a little bit, but that's a good hockey club over there. We expect them to have some pressure at some moments, but I thought we did a good job holding them off. Our best players were our best players and, five-on-five, (Selkirk) didn't really get a lot of opportunities. I think our guys were phenomenal and now we have a lot more work to do. We've been to this dance before, but already there's a different maturity than in previous years. We sense in the locker room that our guys know that it's the hardest thing to win a championship. They'll get a good rest tonight and our support staff is phenomenal, with our therapists and everyone else. When you talk about home ice advantage and being able to have those kind of things at our disposal, hopefully that will give us another inside edge for tomorrow."
• Last year, the Spartans also won Game 1 in the championship series, beating Victoria 5-0, before losing the series after falling in Game 2 and 3.
• This is the third time in the last five years, Selkirk and TWU have met in the BCIHL final. They previously met in 2013-14 and 2015-16, with Spartans being swept in both series.
• This weekend's series is also a rematch of last year's semifinals, in which TWU beat Selkirk on home ice – a series victory that ended the Saints four-year championship run.
• This is TWU's fourth appearance in the BCIHL championship series in the last five years.
• TWU won four of its five meetings with Selkirk during the regular season.
• The Spartans Evans Last was given an automatic game ejection with 9:26 left in the third period after picking up three stick infractions.