University of Victoria’s Shawn Mueller scored with 7.2 seconds to play in the third period, giving the Vikes a 3-2 victory over Trinity Western University – and the BCIHL title – as visiting Victoria won Game 3 of the championship series Monday at the Langley Events Centre.
Overall, it was a great game for the fans, for LEC, for the community, and for the league, said Spartans coach Barret Kropf.
“There’s nothing to hang our heads about tonight. We lost and we have to lick our wounds, but we couldn’t have asked for a better series,” he said.
“It was a great showcase for the league,” Kropf added.
“I think the parity was there all year. UVIC finishing fourth and then winning the championship, that’s not luck. They were banged up and injured in the first half and they got their bodies back and found their form. But to have a game like that and with the emotions going back and forth, it’ll be tough for our guys to deal with tonight, but we’ll be a stronger team next year because of it. Hats off to Victoria. They have a great lineup and Harry (Schamhart) has done a great job of building his culture and he gets rewarded with a championship,” he said.
In the stands, the Spartans set a men’s hockey record with 630 in attendance.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” Kropf said. “The guys love that kind of support and feed off it. I love the direction the school is going and embracing each other across campus. That wasn’t all student-athletes tonight. That was campus-wide and also included alumni and I just really like where things are going at TWU.”
The Spartans had won Game 1 by a 5-0 count before dropping both Game 2 and Game 3. TWU was 49 seconds away from the league title in Game 2, but Victoria tied the game late before winning it in overtime.
The Spartans lost in the BCIHL championship series in both 2014 and 2016.
This championship is the fifth in Victoria’s history, but first since the BCIHL went to the best-of-three championship series format.
The Vikes snap Selkirk’s four-year championship run. Victoria was the last team to win the title before the Saints streak. TWU, who has played in three of the last four BCIHL championship series, remains in search of its first ever league title.
After finishing fourth in the regular season and five games below .500, Victoria was 4-1 in the playoffs, upsetting first-place Simon Fraser before beating second-place TWU.