Adam Tambellini scored at 2:34 of double overtime, as the Surrey Eagles edged the Penticton Vees 3-2 Sunday, capturing their first Fred Page Cup in eight years.
Surrey won the best-of-seven league championship series 4-2. It's their first league title since 2005.
Demico Hannoun forced a turnover down low at the goal-line and then fed Tambellini out front who was waiting in the slot. The forward made no mistake beating Chad Katunar up over the glove.
The championship goal was Tambellini’s first of the series.
The Eagles now move on to represent the BCHL at the inaugural Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in Nanaimo, starting April 26.
The championship marks the first time since 2007 that a team other than the Vees or Vernon Vipers has been crowned league champions.
The Vees, who’ve had a flare for the dramatic all playoffs, tied the game 2-2 in the dying moments of the third period.
Down 2-1 and with the net empty, Sam Mellor threw the puck from the right-wing wall towards the Surrey net.
Through heavy traffic, the puck managed to deflect past Michael Santaguida, sending the 3, 142 in attendance into a frenzy. The goal was originally credited to John Siemer but later given the Michael Rebry, his first of the post-season officially tying the game at 19:34.
Both teams provided a wildly entertaining first overtime period, as the two teams continually traded chances at either end.
The Vees outshot the Eagles 14-11 in the fourth period but couldn’t solve Santaguida or the post. Mellor had a handful of great chances to end the game - his best was batted out of the air by Tambellini, as Mellor looked to have a gaping net to shoot at.
Siemer, Wade Murphy and Jedd Soleway also had chances to end the game but they too were victims of near misses.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the opening minutes of the game, when captain Brett Mulcahy buried a rebound in the crease. Michael Stenerson had his shot stopped from the wing but Mulcahy was right on top of the rebound for the opener at 1:55.
That goal by the Eagles looked like it was going to stand-up as the game-winner until the Vees captain brought his team back on even terms.
In the third, Troy Stecher rushed down the left-wing, stick-handled to just below the left goal-line, before dishing the puck back out front.
Louie Nanne was streaking down the slot and found the pass. His quick shot got over a fallen Santaguida at 12:07.
Brady Shaw quickly put the Eagles back out ahead late in the game on Surrey’s first power-play. Shaw flipped a rebound over a prone Chad Katunar at the side of the net at 15:27 for his second goal of the series.
The goal looked like it was going to be the series-winner, before the late game dramatics by the Vees.
The Eagles join the host Nanaimo Clippers and the four other western league winners in the Brooks Bandits, Yorkton Terriers and Steinbach Pistons.
The top two teams move on to play in the RBC Cup National Jr. ‘A’ Championship in Summerside, PEI next month.
The Vees fall just two wins shy of repeating as Fred Page Cup Champions.
The Vees say goodbye to graduating players Stecher, Mellor, Murphy Sean Flanagan, Bryan Sinz, Rob Mann, James De Haas, Siemer, Thomas Nitsche and Katunar.
The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club would like to thank the fans for their unwavering support and to all the local media for their support in 2012-2013.
See you at the rink in September.