Aldergrove’s Lucas Mills made 25 saves to pick up the victory as the Langley-based Trinity Western Spartans opened their 2019-20 regular season with an emphatic win over the Vancouver Island Mariners Saturday (Oct. 12) at the Langley Events Centre. (TWU photo)

Spartans defeat Mariners in overtime thriller

Langley-based hockey team opens 2019-20 regular season with an emphatic win

Aldergrove’s Kade Vilio tallied the game winning goal with 48 seconds left in the overtime frame as the Trinity Western Spartans opened their 2019-20 regular season with an 5-4 win over the Vancouver Island Mariners Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Josh Bruce, Aldergrove’s Elijah Vilio, Travis Verveda and Evan Last also scored for the Spartans, while goaltender Lucas Mills, also from Aldergrove, made 25 saves to pick up the victory.

VIU’s Brett Witala had two goals, while Gage Colpron and Garrett Dunlop each added singles.

Jeremy Balyk made 40 saves for the Mariners in the loss, as VIU’s record dropped to 2-2-0-1 on the year.

First-year TWU forward Bruce opened the scoring at 6:16 of the first period, tallying his first career goal off a backhand.

Witala then responded for the Mariners on the power play, scoring his third goal of the season to make it 1-1 at 10:20 of the first. Dunlop then added another for the Mariners with just over three minutes left in the first making it 2-1 VIU.

The Mariners continued rolling in the second period, with captain Colpron taking a Dunlop feed and beating Mills to push their lead to two.

TWU got back within one goal at 6:25 of the second, as a Verveda one-timer on the powerplay beat Balyk to make it 3-2.

Another Spartans defenceman then knotted the game up 3-3, with Elijah Vilio jumping in on the rush with an individual effort at 10:01 of the second period.

Witala scored his second of the game for the Mariners at 6:39 of the final frame to regain the Mariners lead.

The back and forth affair continued as Last fired a wrist shot over Balyk’s glove hand to tie the game at 8:13 of the third.

Despite both teams having numerous chances late in the game, including a Mariners power play in the final five minutes, regulation time was unable to solve anything.

That set up the late game heroics.

After hitting the crossbar earlier in the extra frame, Bruce found Kade Vilio alone in front with 48 seconds left in overtime, who buried it five-hole past Balyk for the game-winner on opening night.

READ MORE: TWU Spartans goalie Mills sets record in hockey shutout

READ MORE: Langley’s Spartans to play hockey in top university league

TWU Coach Barret Kropf said the team has had “a very abnormal preseason playing lots of different teams at different levels, being banged up and short staffed.”

“That was reflective in tonight’s game, we had spurts of really good momentum and spurts where we didn’t,” Kropf elaborated.

“I wouldn’t say we had a bad game, but it just looked like we didn’t have the flow we usually do. There was some things tonight we definitely need to keep working on in practice.”

Saturday was the first meeting between VIU and TWU since last season’s BCIHL championship series, •

TWU has now extended their winning streak over Vancouver Island to nine consecutive games, with their last loss against the Mariners coming in Nanaimo on February 24, 2018 (6-5 L).

Spartans home opener was also their final as a member of the BCIHL as TWU will enter U SPORTS in 2020-21. Next up, Spartans continue their homestand on Friday (Oct. 18), playing host to Victoria at the Langley Events Centre.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Proposed 6.67% tax increase to be considered at Langley City council meeting

City to borrow $10 million a year over the next five years to prepare for the arrival of SkyTrain

West Fine Art Show honours the legacy of Langley artist Peter Ewart

Upcoming show, which benefits the Langley School District Foundation, will run March 6 to 8

Kodiaks stand unbeaten in junior hockey playoffs

Aldergrove advances to second round despite the loss and gain of crucial players

Recreation registration gets user-friendly through new Township of Langley system

Swimming, skating, camps, and classes can be accessed using online portal launching on Feb. 25

Langley teen who died of apparent drug overdose to receive a hockey-themed memorial

Police report on Carson Crimeni case now in the hands of Crown counsel

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

Hospital denies Aldergrove cancer patient’s exposure to superbug despite incriminating letter

‘A possibility’ that the endoscope used ‘may be connected to your infection’: Vancouver Coastal Health

Large amount of alleged street drugs found in Vancouver apartment, two men hospitalized

Police are working to test the alleged drugs found in the apartment

Most Read