It wasn’t the start they wanted, but it sure was the finish. The home crowd was out in full force on Friday, but it was VIU who set the tone early with two first period goals from Brett Witala and Sebastien Archambault. SFU stumbled out of the gate for the first time all season in the biggest game of the year, but the youthful SFU roster showed the same poise they’ve had all season. Ryan Riggs closed the gap with a 2nd period power play goal moments after a disallowed SFU goal, while starting goaltender Michael Lenko gave his team the confidence they needed to weather the Mariners’ storm.
After an early third period VIU goal from Caleb Franklin, the remaining 19:25 is worth the watch (conveniently available right here) as SFU finally found their legs and came at VIU in waves. Takato Cox made it 3-2 finding a loose puck in front of VIU netminder Brendeland with 16:03 to go. Captain Mitch Ledyard buried another close range rebound with 6:31 remaining to tie the game at 3. And it was Mr. Clutch Kyle Bergh who put SFU on top 4-3, finding a 3rd rebound goal in close and nearly blowing the roof off Copeland Arena. SFU leading scorer Garrett Hilton would score the games prettiest goal on a nifty give-and-go after an aerial pass into the neutral zone, making it 5-3 SFU. Hilton would add one into the empty net for insurance, cementing SFU’s spot in the Championship game on Sunday.
VIU will now have to face surprise but not underestimated Semifinalist Okanagan Lakers on Saturday in order to get their shot at redemption on Sunday.
The puck drops for the Semifinal on Saturday at 7pm, while the BCIHL Champion will be crowned on Sunday at 2:15pm.
If you haven’t been to a game yet this year, trust us you’ll want to be there Sunday. Tickets are on sale now at shop.sfuhockey.com
March 5th Update: VIU has defeated Okanagan 5-1 and will face SFU in Sunday’s final