LANGLEY, B.C. – Just over a minute into overtime, Simon Fraser's Cole Plotnikoff scored the game-winning goal to secure a 4-3 win over Trinity Western in the opening game of the Captains Cup Saturday at the George Preston Arena.
Plotnikoff found an opening early on in overtime, broke in alone on TWU netminder Lucas Mills (Burnaby, B.C.) and buried the winning goal.
The win puts SFU in good position heading into its game with UBC next weekend. A win against the Thunderbirds would give the Clan the Captains Cup.
After SFU had taken a 3-2 lead at 11:21 of the third period on a goal from Ian Mackey, TWU's Kade Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.) tied the game just 36 seconds later on a breakaway, deking SFU goalie Ryan Sandrin and roofing the puck from his backhand.
Mills finished the night with 35 saves, while Sandrin took the win making 37 stops.
SFU opened the scoring early in the first period on a fortuitous bounce that saw a Mitch Ledyard cross-crease pass deflect off a TWU skate and into the net.
However, the Spartans responded with a pair of goals late in the opening frame. Jarrett Fontaine (Humboldt, Sask.) capitalized on a power play at 18:02 of the first period, scoring TWU's first goal of the preseason. Just 25 seconds later, he scored again, tapping in his own rebound to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
The Clan evened the score 2-2 with just over six minutes to play in the second period, with Matthew Berry-Lamontagna scoring for the visitors.
TWU Head Coach Barret Kropf
"I thought we were strong in the first period and both teams were really flying. It oddly felt almost like a playoff game. But then we slowed down a bit in the second period and in the third period, I just didn't think we played at the pace we know we can. We have a ton of new players in the lineup, so it takes a bit of time to adjust to this level and the physicality of this league. I think it's going to be a strong year for this league, with parity across the board, and tonight was an example of the intensity that can be expected on a nightly basis.
"Obviously Junior (Mills) played well and held us in there with some key saves, especially in the first and second period. It was exciting to see him be that guy for us in the net and really come up big on a few occasions."
The Spartans will now prepare to play UBC Sept. 22 in the last game of the Captains Cup. Puck drop is at 2 p.m. at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. SFU will take on UBC in other Captains Cup contest Sept. 21 at UBC at 7 p.m.
About the Captains Cup
The preseason tournament started in the fall of 2017 with UBC taking the inaugural title. The goal of the Captains Cup is to promote university hockey in the Lower Mainland, while also raising awareness for the WHL's Scholarship Program, which is available for players entering into post-secondary hockey. The tournament champion will be awarded an historic trophy – the Canada Pacific Exhibition President's Trophy – that has been in the BC Sports Hall of Fame since 2010. The trophy was previously awarded to the MVP of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey League from 1941 to 1947.
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships, 25 Canada West team championships and one BCIHL championship.