Vernon’s Kaden Black (front) and the Chase Heat are taking on the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the KIJHL’s best-of-five championship series. - Image credit: Del Palaga photo

Vernon’s Kaden Black (front) and the Chase Heat are taking on the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the KIJHL’s best-of-five championship series. - Image credit: Del Palaga photo

Black seeks league championship

Vernon product has Chase Heat in first-ever KIJHL final

Lose the first game of a best-of-five playoff series?

The Chase Heat have been there before.

Vernon’s Kaden Black and the Heat fell 6-3 to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Game 1 of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s best-of-five championship series Monday in Fruitvale.

Game 2 went Tuesday in the Kootenays. The remainder of the series will be played in the Shuswap.

Game 3 is Thursday at the Art Holding Memorial Arena in Chase. If necessary, Game 4 is Friday and Game 5 is Sunday.

Black – held off the scoresheet in the series opener – and the Heat won the Okanagan Conference championship in dramatic fashion, rallying from a 2-0 series deficit and literally being a combined four seconds away from playoff elimination to stun the Osoyoos Coyotes, winning the fifth-and-deciding game, 3-1, in Osoyoos Friday.

Black scored the series-winning goal on a powerplay two minutes into the third period, then set up the insurance goal with 10 seconds left. Black has three goals and five assists for eight points in 12 playoff games for the Heat. He compiled 20-23-43 in the regular season.

Chase was down 3-1 and was five minutes away from elimination against the Coyotes in Game 3 at home when a Black marker with 5:04 remaining pulled the Heat to within a goal.

The Heat tied the game with three seconds left in regulation and won it in the first overtime period.

Things were even more dramatic in Game 4.

With the game tied 3-3, Osoyoos took the lead with 24 seconds left in regulation time with a powerplay goal.

Chase tied it up with one second left in regulation, then won it on a powerplay late in the first overtime frame.

The winner between Chase and Beaver Valley will represent the KIJHL at the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial finals in Creston.

The two teams did not play each other in the regular season.

Beaver Valley beat the Kimberley Dynamiters in five games in the Kootenay Conference final, taking the clincher 5-2.

Chase is making its first-ever league championship appearance. The regular season champion Nitehawks are seeking an eighth championship banner.

The Heat entered the final series with playoff record of 11-4. The Nitehawks are 11-2.