The VIU Mariners hold off the Selkirk Saints during playoff action in Castlegar this past weekend. CARMEN HARRIS photo

The VIU Mariners hold off the Selkirk Saints during playoff action in Castlegar this past weekend. CARMEN HARRIS photo

VIU hockey makes history with its first playoff series win

Vancouver Island University Mariners sweep Selkirk Saints, reach BCIHL finals

VIU hockey pulled off a first-round upset and will now play for a championship for the first time in franchise history.

The Vancouver Island University Mariners hockey club swept the Selkirk Saints two games to none this past weekend in a best-of-three B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League playoff series in Castlegar. VIU won the opener 6-1 on Friday, then followed up Saturday with a 3-2 win.

“You wouldn’t believe how happy they were at the end of the game,” said Myles Parsons, team president.

The two games unfolded quite differently, he said.

“[In Game 1], everybody was firing on all cylinders and a full four lines were going and we had total control of the game at all times,” Parsons said. “The second game, we ran into a couple of injuries and we had to change things up and you change a couple things and the next thing you know, you’re running into problems here and there.”

But the Mariners were able to win both by playing smart – taking short shifts, for example – and also by playing hard.

“They all battled. They all dug down a little deeper, worked harder,” Parsons said.

In the first game, Dylan McCann and Garrett Dunlop scored two goals each and Michael Olson-Eyre and Spencer Loverock also tallied. Matt Huber earned the win in goal as shots were 39-26 in favour of VIU.

In Game 2, Ryan Coghlan, Tyler Kerner and Gavin Rauser scored and Huber made 34 saves as the Saints outshot the M’s 36-25.

Huber is the BCIHL’s Player of the Week.

The playoff win is the first in Mariners team history. They will now face the Trinity Western University Spartans, who swept Simon Fraser University in the other semifinal. Scheduling for the finals hasn’t been determined, but Parsons said VIU won’t get a home game. The finals are expected to get underway Thursday, March 14, in Aldergrove.

TWU won all six meetings against VIU during the regular season, though five of those six were one-goal games.

“We match up with them pretty good, but we’re going to have to be on our A game if we’re going to beat them,” Parsons said.

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