Morning Star Staff
Nothing like scoring the overtime winner to atone for giving up the goal that led to the extra session.
Defenceman Layne Greene scored with 1:48 left in overtime to give the North Okanagan Knights their first win of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season Saturday, a 4-3 decision over the Braves in Spokane.
The goal came with the teams playing 4-on-4.
“I took a pass from Austin (Fournier) at the blueline, shot it and it hit their defenceman and went past the goalie” said Greene, a Vernon product, who was named North Okanagan’s game star. “It was a huge relief.”
The Knights had jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two periods on powerplay goals from defenceman Trent Redschlag and forward Graham Watkins, sandwiched around an even-strength marker from veteran d-man Colin Robin, who added two assists.
The Braves got life early in the third on a five-minute powerplay after Knights defenceman Drayton Martin was whistled for a major boarding penalty and game misconduct with two seconds left in the second period.
“It was a hockey hit,” said Knights head coach Bryant Perrier. “It was one-on-one in the offensive zone, the Spokane player turned toward the wall (boards), Drayton pushed him and his stick on his hip and it looked like his leg just gave out.
“There was no intent, it wasn’t a malicious play.”
Spokane scored twice with the man advantage, then tied things with seven minutes left after Greene coughed up the puck to Connor McIntosh, who went in and beat Knights goalie Daniel Paul.
“We stuck to the game plan and didn’t panic,” said Greene after his team blew a three-goal lead. “We came right back with a good push after they tied it.”
North Okanagan outshot Spokane 49-33 and received a solid showing in net from Daniel Paul.
“It was a huge win,” said Perrier. “Our goal is to hold teams to 30 shots or less each game. The team believes now that defence will help us win games.”
North Okanagan, who lost their season opener, 5-2 in Grand Forks, visit the Princeton Posse Friday. The Knights host the Posse Wednesday, Sept. 23, for their home opener.