Matt Vela scored at 7:15 of overtime to help the Trinity Western Spartans advance to the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League finals.
Vela’s goal gave the Spartans a 5-4 win over the SFU Clan on Saturday at the George Preston Recreation Centre in game two of the best-of-three semifinal series.
SFU was the second seed while TWU was the third seed.
Silas Matthys stopped 39 shots for the win.
The Spartans trailed 4-3 heading into the third period but Jamie Russell forced overtime with less than 90 seconds remaining. He also set up Vela’s winner and was named the league’s first star of the week.
“It’s good to get a team win when everyone is doing the things that they need to be doing. We continue to be a lunch bucket brigade of guys who keep things as simple as we can with as much hard work as we can and getting the job done,” said Spartans coach Barret Kropf.
“So when you get a team win with a 60-plus minute effort it makes me pretty proud of the guys.
“[Grange] Gordon, Vela and [Brett] Wur were just buzz saws all series and gave us good checking match-ups and were able to contribute on the board as well.
“Their speed helped carry some shifts and create momentum. So when you are getting scoring throughout your lineup it is a great sign of team play and I’m very proud of the guys tonight.”
PJ Buys, Kaleb Denham and Florian Niedermaier had the other TWU goals.
TWU won the opener 6-3 the night before on the road.
The Spartans managed just 18 shots while Matthys was again stellar, finishing with 33 saves on 36 shots.
Cody Stephenson, Ryan Bakken, Mattias Schmitt and Jacob Mills had a goal apiece while Niedermaier notched a pair of goals.
The Spartans face the top-seed Selkirk Saints in a best-of-three series beginning tonight (Friday). All three games are in Castlegar.
The teams went 3-3 in head-to-head action during the regular season.
Defenceman Blair Murphy was named a BCIHL first team all-star on Tuesday while forward PJ Buys and goaltender Silas Matthys were second team selections.w