North Okanagan Knights ice Kamloops Storm in Game 1

Brett Hawrys had the Midas touch for the North Okanagan Knights Friday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

The Armstrong native scored twice and assisted on the other goal as the Knights brushed back the Kamloops Storm 3-1 in Game 1 of their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoff opener in front of nearly 300 fans.

Game 2 went Saturday in Armstrong, with Games 3 and 4 set for Monday and Tuesday at McArthur Island Arena in Kamloops.

The fourth-seeded Storm struck first Friday night, taking a 1-0 lead to the intermission on a goal by Aaron Markin.

“We played extremely hard in the first but weren’t rewarded,” said Knights’ head coach Kris Mallette. “You can be doing everything right and a bounce here or there and you can be capitalized on.”

Hawrys pocketed his first goal just over a minute into the second period after he and linemates Morgan Johnston and Mat Lambert created a turnover on the backcheck. Johnston took the Kamloops zone, isolated a d-man and got it to Hawrys in the slot.

His second goal was a near carbon-copy, only it was Matty Saharchuk taking the puck wide and, after pushing the Storm defence deep, he found Hawrys in the open ice.

“Our guys were able to push them to the net to allow that space,” said Mallette, who credited netminder Dustin Nikkel for holding off a surging Kamloops squad in the final period.

Earlier in the week, the Knights collected some Doug Birks Divisional hardware, with Mallette earning Top Coach for the second straight year, and Saharchuk pocketing Top Rookie honours.

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