It looked like business as usual for the North Okanagan Knights Friday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre. The Osoyoos Coyotes had plans of their own.
Leading by a pair of goals in the first period, the Knights were in full control against Osoyoos in Game 1 of the Kooteney International Junior Hockey League’s Okanagan/Shuswap Conference final.
The Coyotes responded with a huge second period, burying four unanswered goals en route to a 6-2 win in front of nearly 400 fans.
Colton Thibault, on a terrific second-effort wraparound, and Matty Saharchuk, fighting off his check in the corner before banking a sharp-angle shot off netminder Jesse Gordichuk, accounted for North Okanagan’s offence.
The Coyotes started rolling late in the first period as they converted one second after a 5-on-3 had expired as Liam Neary beat netminder Austin Buzzell clean from the top of the circle.
Andrew Stack, Alex Grupe and leading scorer Garrett Kucher, with a pair, replied for Osoyoos in the second period. Rory Neary rounded out the scoring in the final frame.
Buzzell was pulled after allowing four goals on 18 shots. He was replaced by Dustin Nikkel, who surrendered a pair of 11 shots. Gordichuk was named first star for his 39-save showing.
Game 2 goes tonight (7:00) in Armstrong. The third and fourth tilts are slated for Monday and Tuesday night (7:35) at the Sun Bowl.
Check out Sunday sports in the Morning Star for a full recap of Game 1.