A hat trick from Matt Revel paced the Yale Lions to their third consecutive B.C. high school hockey championship.
The Lions knocked off the Earl Marriott Mariners of Surrey 6-2 on Tuesday night at the Langley Sportsplex, in a title game that was much closer than the score indicated. Yale rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits in the second period, before pulling away late in the third.
“We showed a lot of depth,” said Billy Wilms, the program co-ordinator for the Yale Hockey Academy, who coached the Lions along with Brad Bowen and Andy Nielsen.
“It just shows how good our academy is in the Lower Mainland.”
Marriott led on two occasions in the middle frame, but Yale battled back to tie the score twice on goals by Revel and Mike Holub.
The turning point came late in the period. Off a set play in the offensive zone, Jake Virtanen fed Austin Edwards for a one-timer that gave Yale a 3-2 lead with just 13 seconds left before intermission.
In the third, Jared Virtanen notched a crucial insurance goal, and Revel tacked on two more to complete the hat trick. Alex Orth picked up the win in net.
Yale is a founding member of the fledgling high school midget-age league, and has won the title in all three seasons of its existence. The league has grown from six teams in 2010, to 20 in 2011, to 26 this year.
“It’s growing in popularity,” Wilms noted. “It’s been a long time coming, and I think it’s going to get stronger.
“Interior teams have already approached BC Hockey, and more want to get on board. I would think that within the next five years, you’ll see all the regions in B.C. with teams registered.”