MARCH 7, 2014 — CASTLEGAR, B.C. — Selkirk College opened the 2014 B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League playoffs by running their season-best win streak to 10 games on Friday night, topping Thompson Rivers University by a 3-2 score in overtime to take Game 1 of their best-of-three B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League semi-final playoff series. Logan Proulx scored the winner 11:10 into the sudden-death extra frame.
The Saints did almost everything right in front of nearly 500 fans at the Castlegar Rec Complex except for their inability to convert on a bucket-load of high quality scoring chances on WolfPack starter Chris Solecki. The rookie netminder made 50 saves, including several of the highlight reel variety, giving his teammates the time they needed to find a pair of tying goals at the opposite end of the rink.
Selkirk outshot Thompson Rivers by a 16-3 margin during a first period that saw the ice sloped steeply in the direction of Solecki’s crease. But the Saints wouldn’t score their first of the night until midway through the second, when Jackson Garrett tapped home a Cody Fidgett feed on a 2-on-1 rush to give his team a lead on their 32nd shot of the game. The WolfPack replied before intermission, however, as Steven Pantazopoulos ripped home a shot from the slot on a late second period power-play to knot the score at 1-1.
Beau Taylor (pictured below at left) restored the Saints’ lead early in the third when he brought the puck from behind the TRU goal and scored into the far corner past a sprawling Solecki. Selkirk nursed that one-goal cushion and appeared to be headed for a 2-1 victory until Dayton Shaw jumped on a loose puck at the offensive blueline and deked past a pair of defenders before beating Chris Hurry on a forehand deke with 4:09 remaining in regulation.
That marker sent the game to overtime, which featured a series of close calls at both ends before Proulx pounced on a rebound from a David Mead point shot to give his team the 3-2 victory.
“TRU played a pretty conservative road game and challenged us to beat them with a lot of bodies in the neutral zone and around their net,” says Saints head coach Jeff Dubois. “We controlled possession at even strength and generated some good opportunities, but their goaltender made the difference in getting this game to overtime and he easily could have stolen it for them. We’ll be happy with most aspects of our game, but we need to start finding that killer instinct when it comes to finishing plays and finding the back of the net. We gave TRU the chance to hang in there tonight, and to their credit they made the most of it and played us tough.”
Selkirk outshot TRU 53-24 on the night, including an 8-3 advantage in overtime. Hurry picked up his first playoff win with a 22-save effort.
With a win in Game 2 of the series on Saturday, the Saints would close out the series and advance to their second consecutive BCIHL finals. A WolfPack victory would send the series to a third and deciding game on Sunday night. Puck drop on Saturday is set for 7:30 PM.
SAINTS NOTES: Selkirk has now won four of its last five games by identical 3-2 scores. Included in that string was a shootout win at TRU, a regulation victory over SFU, and an overtime decision over TWU. The Saints have given up more than two goals in a game just twice in their past 14 contests.