Grizzlies ground Knights in OT

The rebound effort was there, the result was not.

After a lukewarm midweek performance against the Chase Heat (3-3 draw), the North Okanagan Knights probably felt a bit unlucky falling 5-4 in overtime to the Revelstoke Grizzlies Friday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

The Knights carried the play for most of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League tilt, but settled for one point when the Grizzlies’ Spencer Samuel buried the winner on a goal-mouth scramble in front of Austin Buzzell a minute into OT.

It was his league-leading 23rd goal.

“It was one of those games where you walk away and shake your head and go ‘How did we lose that game?’” said Knights’ assistant coach Shawn Webb.

“It was a game we carried for the majority. We were physical, we backed them off the puck and because of that we had a 3-1 lead after two periods.

“We rolled four lines and the four lines were clicking. It was a good crash-and-bang game for 90 per cent of it.”

Colton Thibault (6th goal) beat Grizz netminder Aaron Brandoli, a Vernon native, blocker side for North Okanagan’s first goal. Vernon’s Mat Lambert set him up with a nice feed on the rush.

Tied 1-1 after one period, the 17-8-1-2 Knights surged ahead on goals by Matty Saharchuk (11th) and Mat Lambert (12th).

After some good corner work Saharchuk made a move on a d-man before beating Brandoli (34 saves) with a wrister. Lambert used Tanner Burns as a decoy on a 2-on-1 for his snipe.

Burns (19th) scored with Buzzell pulled for the extra attacker to force OT.

Darnel St. Pierre (4th and 5th) and Austin Donaldson (8th and 9th), each with a pair, powered the 14-10-3-1 Revelstoke offence in regulation.

“It was the best our defence has played in months, but it’s those little breakdowns on the defensive side of the puck that inevitably cost us the (OT) goal,” said Webb.

“It was just some really ugly bounces that Revelstoke was on the receiving side of.”

The Knights visited the Kamloops Storm (12-15-2-3) Saturday night at McArthur Park Arena.

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