Smokies snuff Warriors

Sam Mellor fired the winner just over two minutes into overtime as the Trail Smoke Eaters bounced the Westside Warriors 5-4 in first-round B.C. Hockey League playoff action Monday night at Cominco Arena.

The Smokies held a 2-1 best-of-seven series lead heading into Game 4 Tuesday night in Trail.

Speedy forward Travis St. Denis led the Smoke Eaters with two goals, with singles coming from Ben Matthews and Scott Jacklin. Mellor (first star) had two helpers in support of netminder Kiefer Smiley (36 saves).

Westside captain Alex Grieve paced the Warriors with two goals. Kevin Boyle recorded 30 stops.

The Penticton Vees put a 3-0 stranglehold on their first-round series with a 4-3 OT win over the Quesnel Millionaires Monday night at The Vault.

Joey Holka collected the winner 5:32 into overtime. The Vees got other offence from James Polk, Joey Benik and Logan Johnston.

The two teams met in Game 4 Tuesday night in Quesnel.

In the other Interior Conference series, the Salmon Arm SilverBacks had a chance to sweep the host Merritt Centennials Tuesday night at Nicola Valley Arena.

The ‘Backs used Paul De Jersey’s OT goal to roll the Cents 4-3 and take a 3-0 series lead Monday night in Merritt.

Salmon Arm jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Devin Gannon, but the Cents rallied with powerplay goals 30 seconds apart to equalize late in the second period.

Brett Knowles put the Gorillas back in front before the second intermission, but Jeff Jones forced OT midway through the third period.

The Vernon Vipers, who are enjoying a first-round bye, have home-ice advantage against the lowest remaining Interior seed. Game 1 of the conference semifinals goes Tuesday night at Wesbild Centre.

Heading into Tuesday-night Coastal Conference playoff action, the Surrey Eagles led the Coquitlam Express 3-0, the Langley Chiefs hold a 3-0 edge over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the Victoria Grizzlies have a 2-1 lead on the Nanaimo Clippers.