BLACKFALDS — Reed Watts goal at 2:48 of the first overtime period gave the Blackfalds Wranglers a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Vipers in the opening game of the best-of-three Heritage Junior B Hockey League final.
Scott Maetche’s goal at 12:15 of the third period gave the Wranglers a tie in the game, which saw Red Deer lead 2-1 after the opening period. The teams were tied 3-3 after 40 minutes.
Colton Sutter gave the Vipers the lead just 19 seconds into the first period with Chance Abbett tying it at 2:48 and Patrick Amell regaining the Red Deer lead at 14:15.
Blackfalds’ Josh McIlravrey and Brant Leischner sandwiched goals around one by Red Deer’s Devon Jonson in the middle stanza with Sutter connecting at 5:43 of the third period.
Layne Swier finished with 39 saves for the Wranglers, including nine in overtime while Mike Stonehouse made 37 saves for the Vipers.
The second game of the series goes Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Arena with the third game, if necessary, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Blackfalds.
Both teams will compete in the provincials, which open March 30 in Peace River.