Coyotes ride powerplay past North Okanagan Knights

Osoyoos Coyotes brush back North Okanagan Knights 5-3 in KIJHL action Wednesday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

The Osoyoos Coyotes connected three times on the powerplay as they brushed back the North Okanagan Knights 5-3 Wednesday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

In a battle of the first- and last-place Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams, the high-flying Yotes outshot the Knights 51-21, but never led by more than two goals.

The Knights (6-33-1-4) got on the board first on a powerplay goal by Kelsey Byrne (4th goal), assisted by Dustin Kostiuk and Dallas Keller, at 4:13. But the Coyotes replied 45 seconds later on a man-advantage snipe by Colten Braid (20th), and took the lead just 18 seconds after that on a snipe by Brett Jewell (16th), a Vernon minor hockey product.

Aaron Avezedo (18th) and Cody Allen (2nd), for Osoyoos, and Byrne, with his second of the night, and fifth of the season, handled the second-period scoring. Braid (21st) and the Knights’ call-up Rhys Colpron (2nd) traded singles 90 seconds apart in the third frame.

Coyotes’ keeper Lawrence Langan finished with 18 saves for his 23rd win. Josh Shank was a workhorse in stopping 46 shots for the Knights.

Meanwhile, in BCHL Interior Division action Tuesday night, ex-Vernon Viper Dallas Calvin recorded a goal and an assist to earn first star as the Trail Smoke Eaters upended the host Merritt Centennials 5-4 at Nicola Valley Arena.

Harlan Orr, a Vernon product, scored once for the Smokies, and Craig Martin, another former Snake, drew one assist. Rhett Wilcox led the 24-16-0-2 Cents with a pair of goals.

Trail’s Brett Clark made 21 saves for the win, while Merritt’s Anthony Pupplo made 11 stops. Jewell played for the Cents, his fifth BCHL game, earning an assist.

The Smoke Eaters are last in the Interior at 15-25-0-2.

In the other Tuesday nighter, the Penticton Vees got a hat trick from Connor Chartier as they dismantled the West Kelowna Warriors 8-4 at Royal LePage Place.

Trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes, the first-place Vees (34-7-2-1) struck six times in the second period to build a comfortable lead. The Warriors are 22-17-0-5, and 4-6 in their last 10 games.

The second-place Vipers (28-11-1-2), who are 8-2 in their last 10, visit the Coquitlam Express (16-24-1-2) tonight at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre. The Snakes are in Merritt Saturday.