The Kelowna Chiefs beat the North Okanagan Knights 3-1 Saturday to even the best-of-seven Kootenay International Junior Hockey League divisional semifinal at a game apiece.
Games 3 and 4 are set for Monday and Tuesday, March 2 and 3, at the Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong. Game times are 7:30 p.m. each night.
A night after North Okanagan scored a controversial 3-2 overtime win in the series opener (Chiefs thought Ethan Matchim’s winning goal was gloved in), the hometown Chiefs got on the board first with a goal from Patrick Reynolds.
It stayed 1-0 home side until the 11:26 marker of the third period, when KIJHL Rookie of the Year Porter Dawson scored to make it 2-0.
Tyler Cheetham’s unassisted goal for the Knights with 1:18 left in regulation time gave North Okanagan hope, but any thoughts of sending the game to overtime for a second consecutive night were eliminated with Zane Avery’s empty-net goal at 19:04.
Sean Kanervisto made 47 saves for North Okanagan while Braeden Mitchell turned aside 28 shots in goal for Kelowna.
Elsewhere in the Bill Ohlhausen Division, the Princeton Posse defeated the Summerland Steam 4-2 to take a 2-0 lead in that series.
In the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference’s Doug Birks Division, the regular-season winners, the Revelstoke Grizzlies, beat the Kamloops Storm 6-0 and 5-2 as that series opened in Revy. In Chase, the third-place 100 Mile House Wranglers – who are hosting the 2020 Cyclone Taylor Cup Provincial Junior B Championships – won both games, 5-2 and 1-0.
The regular-season champion Kimberley Dynamiters evened their divisional semifinal at 1-1 with a 4-0 win over the Creston Valley Thundercats, who stunned the Nitros in the series opener Friday, 3-2 in overtime.
The third-place Columbia Valley Rockies went into Fernie and took the first two games of their divisional semifinal with the second-place Ghostriders, winning 4-3 and 3-1.
Beaver Valley Nitehawks are up 2-0 in their series with the fourth-place Castlegar Rebels after winning 3-2 in overtime and 6-3. Nelson Leafs are ahead of the Spokane Braves 2-0 following 4-1 and 6-1 victories at home.