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WHL: Vancouver tops Kelowna in overtime to even series

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The Canadian Press
4/20/2009 12:21:53 AM
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VANCOUVER -- Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored 19:25 in overtime to lift the Vancouver Giants over the Kelowna Rockets 4-3 in Game 2 of their Western Hockey League Western Conference final series Sunday.

The Giants evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1 before a crowd of 7,159 at the Pacific Coliseum.

Game 3 goes Tuesday night in Kelowna, B.C.

Evander Kane and Jon Blum each had a goal and an assist as Vancouver recovered after squandering a 3-1 second-period lead.

Pierro-Zabotel, the WHL's regular-season scoring leader, added an assist to go along with his game winner.

Mike Piluso also scored for the Giants, who took advantage of Kelowna's penalty troubles, converting on two of nine power plays opportunities. The Rockets went 1-for-6 on the power play.

Ian Duval, Jamie Benn and Cody Almond replied for the Rockets.

With the win, Vancouver avoided suffering back-to-back home losses for the first time this season.

Kelowna goaltender Mark Guggenberger made 33 saves while Vancouver's Tyson Sexsmith stopped 28 shots.

Kane opened the scoring five minutes into the game after he one-timed Garry Nunn's pass from the corner through Guggenberger's legs.

Duval drew the Rockets even at 1:05 of the second period. Mikael Backlund won a battle for the puck behind the net and fed Duval, who jammed it in for his third goal of the series.

Piluso put the Giants ahead 2-1 on a power play at 7:18 of the second, finishing off a three-way passing play with Blum and Pierro-Zabotel.

Blum increased Vancouver's lead to 3-1 on another power play just over two minutes left in the middle frame as converted a short pass from Kane.

The Rockets had a would-be power play goal disallowed six and half minutes into the third period after replays showed Cody Almond kicked the puck into the net.

Benn cut Vancouver's lead to 3-2 on a power play six minutes later. The goal came after Pierro-Zabotel received a high-sticking double-minor.

Almond forced overtime after Giants defenceman Craig Schira fanned on Craig Cunningham's pass back into the Vancouver zone, enabling the Kelowna centre to race in alone and deke Sexsmith.

Calgary vs. Brandon

CALGARY - Brett Sonne scored at 13:10 of the third period to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-4 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Western Hockey League playoff action Sunday.

With the win, the Hitmen took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series against the Wheat Kings, who will host the next two games in Brandon on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Joel Broda and Michael Stone each counted a goal and an assist for the Hitmen, who set a franchise record with their 10th straight playoff victory. Ian Schultz and Kyle Bortis also scored, while Alex Plante and Keith Seabrook chipped in with a pair of assists each.

Brayden Schenn and Matt Calvert both had a goal and an assist for the Wheat Kings, who led 2-0 after the opening frame before the Hitmen rebounded to tie the game at 3-3 through two periods.

Jay Fehr and Keith Aulie also scored for Brandon, while Scott Glennie had a pair of helpers.

Calgary goalie Martin Jones stopped 21 of 25 shots he faced to improve his record to 10-0 in the post-season. Brandon netminder Andrew Hayes made 22 saves at the other end.

Vancouver Giants (Photo: TSN)

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(Photo: TSN)
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