NANAIMO – In just its second year in existence the VIU Mariners hockey team is competing for a BCIHL championship.
The Mariners finished the season with a 12-10-2 record, in third place in the league standings.
Last weekend VIU swept Selkirk College in the opening round of the playoffs winning 6-1 and 3-2 in Castlegar.
That sets up a matchup in the final against Trinity Western University.
The games will be Thursday, Friday, and if necessary Saturday all in the Fraser Valley.
Team captain Ryan Coghlan says it would be a huge moment for the university and for him it would be a massive personal milestone.
Coghlan has never won a major championship, although he did make it to a BCHL final with his hometown Nanaimo Clippers in 2015.
“For a second year program it would be awesome. The coaching staff has confidence in us and we have confidence in each other. We've worked our tails off all season to get to this point,” said Coghlan.
The Mariners are a team known for their offense with Rookie of the Year Brett Witala leading the BCIHL in scoring with 32 points.
Gage Copron and Dallas Calvin also finished in the top ten in scoring.
Last weekend against Selkirk it was the Mariners defensive play that won the day allowing only three goals against in two games versus the Saints.
VIU was backstopped by Matt Huber who was named the BCIHL Player of the Week for his efforts between the pipes.
The 21-year-old posted fantastic numbers with a 2-0 record, a 1.50 goals against average, and a .952 save percentage.
It will be a big job for the Mariners this weekend trying to knock off not just the best team from the regular season, the TWU Spartans are also the reigning league champions.
TWU had a 6-0 record versus VIU but four of those games were decided by one goal and two went to overtime.
The first game of the series goes Thursday at the Langley Events Centre, Friday's contest will be at the Aldergrove Community Arena and if there's a third game it would go Saturday back at the LEC.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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