Brady Daniels got his first taste of collegiate hockey this season with the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners men’s squad.

He also got to play in his first collegiate final last weekend. It just didn’t end the way he or his team wanted it to.

The Mariners had to watch another team skate around with the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) title this past Sunday in Burnaby, B.C., as Simon Fraser University (SFU) are your champions for this season. SFU defeated the Mariners in the final by a score of 2-0 to cap off an undefeated campaign, doing so by winning the crown on home ice.

VIU and SFU were two of four teams to make the playoffs, which was held under a format identical to the Page playoff system used in curling. As the top two seeds, VIU and SFU played off in one quarterfinal on March 4 while the University of Victoria (UVic) and Okanagan College squared off in the other that same day. The difference between the two games was that the winner of the VIU-SFU game went straight to the final while the loser went to the semifinal to play the winner of the UVIC-Okanagan game for a place in the final.

SFU won the opening contest, 6-3, scoring five unanswered goals in the third period to romp home to victory.

Daniels said it was a classic example of how hockey is a 60-minute game.

“We came in with a vengeance,” he said. “They were unbeaten all season and we had close games with them all year and we had them for two periods but they blew us apart in the third. Their power-play dominated us and I think we got caught playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win. We got reminded of that difference.”

So it was off to the semifinal to play Okanagan, which got past UVic, and it would be a more complete effort in that game as VIU came out on top, 5-1. This time, VIU ended up the better team down the stretch as they potted three home without reply in the third to seal the deal.

“We beat Okanagan all season long but it’s the playoffs and anything can happen,” said Daniels. “They had us working hard all game but our special teams came through big for us and that was reflected in the results.”

With the rematch against SFU set, VIU looked to right the wrong from two days earlier but ran into a brick wall at the wrong time as they weren’t able to get anything past SFU’s defence.

Daniels figured the big reason why was not getting enough “dirty” chances — shots down low in front of the goalie.

“We were pretty even in shots and we were producing chances but we weren’t getting inside enough,” he said. “We hit a bunch of goal posts but those don’t count for anything. They just had a stellar defensive corps and that’s a big reason why they finished (the season) unbeaten.”

Even in defeat, Daniels said it was an awesome year for him.

“You don’t get to play in a final every year,” he said. “We have a real good feeling going into next year and we only have three players graduating so that’s a big positive. We know what to expect and it’s a great group of guys and I’m looking forward to next season.”

Brady’s brother, Austin Daniels, is still doing his thing in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. His Kimberley Dynamiters are on their playoff run and are in the second round facing off versus the Columbia Valley Rockies. The Dynamiters lead the series, 2-1, after a 4-3 win on the road on Monday. They swept the Golden Rockets in four straight games in the first round.

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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