Balson goes big for Vees in double OT

Brock Balson scored at 9:47 of double overtime as the Penticton Vees shaded the host West Kelowna Warriors 5-4.

Morning Star Staff

Brock Balson scored at 9:47 of double overtime as the Penticton Vees shaded the host West Kelowna Warriors 5-4 in B.C. Hockey League playoff action Monday night.

Brad McClune of the Vees forced OT by converting with 50 seconds left in the third period before 1,016 fans at Royal LePage Place. Penticton held a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Interior Conference final series going into Game 4 Tuesday night in West Kelowna.

Penticton started strong with a pair of goals by Louie Nanne but David Pope and Matt Anholt responded for the Warriors 24 seconds apart to tie it 2-2 after the first.

The Warriors went up a pair in the second on tallies by Pope and Ambrose Firkus before Balson pulled the Vees wthin one midway through the third.

“I think you have to give them credit. They’re a great team and they find a way to win and that’s what great teams do,” said Warriors’ head coach Rylan Ferster. “We seem to find way to lose against them. They have their goalie pulled and score in the last minute. How many times has that happened?”

The Warriors outshot the defending champion Vees 58-49 with Chad Katunar taking the win and Tyler Briggs the loss.

Balson, a former Kamloops Blazer who was traded to the Vees from the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, beat Briggs blocker side.

“I had no idea how much space there was,” said Balson. “I think I blacked out there and just shot it. That’s usually where I shoot. I was just glad it was over. Both teams were kind of tired and playing kind of tight, not wanting to give up too much.”

Tambellini’s ninth lifts Surrey

In Alberni Valley, overtime was also needed in front of 1,900 fans with the Surrey Eagles downing the Bulldogs 3-2 on Drew Best’s snipe at 9:50.

Scoreless through 39 minutes of play, Surrey’s Brady Shaw opened the offence at 19:58 of the second.

Ex-Viper Adam Tambellini recorded his ninth goal of the playoffs to put Surrey up 2-0, but Alberni Valley, playing their 13th game in 17 days, rallied with goals from Jared Wilson and Teal Burns to equalize.

Surrey took a 3-0 lead in the Coastal Conference series heading into the fourth game Tuesday night back at Weyerhaeuser Arena.

The Alberta League is down to its final four with the defending champion Brooks Bandits facing the Okotoks Oilers in the South and the Spruce Grove Saints battling the Whitecourt Wolverines in the North.

The BCHL and AJHL champions advance to the inaugural Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup, April 27-May 5, in Nanaimo.

Jones twins off to Frozen Four

Kellen Jones had 1+1 and Connor Jones earned two assists as the No. 1 Quinnipiac Bobcats bounced the Union Dutchmen 5-1 Sunday in the NCAA East Regionals final in Providence.

Matthew Peca pulled the fastest hat trick in tournament history (3:12 span) to spark the Bobcats. Peca led the Pembroke Lumber Kings past the Vernon Vipers in the 2011 Royal Bank Cup final in Camrose, Alta.

Viper grad Cole Ikkala played for the Dutchmen. Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State Huskies, UMass Lowell Riverhawks and Yale Bulldogs will play in the Frozen Four, April 11-13, in Pittsburgh.

Pasacreta helps Cold Lake Ice

Vernon’s Hayden Pasacreta (formerly Cromarty) helped the host Cold Lake Ice clip the Wainwright Bisons 5-4 in double OT in the fifth and deciding game of the North Eastern Alberta Junior B League final Saturday before 1,300 fans at the new Imperial Oil Place.

The Ice won their third straight playoff title. They advance to the Alberta finals Thursday in Wainwright. Pasacreta had 2-5-7 in six playoff games after getting 2-1-3 in seven regular-season tilts.