Knights blank Lakers

North Okanagan Knights blank Penticton Lakers 3-0 Saturday night.

They were riding bikes and lifting weights Tuesday morning at the Armstrong gym, a smiling head coach Kris Mallette monitoring their sweat levels as they ready for the home stretch.

The North Okanagan Knights worked just as hard on the ice Saturday night in a 3-0 victory over the host Penticton Lakers, avenging an 8-3 spanking the Lakers fed them two weeks ago at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

The Knights improved to 28-12-0-1, good for third spot in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Doug Birks Division of the Okanagan Conference.

“We adjusted,” said Mallette. “After the Revelstoke (9-3 loss Wednesday in Revy) game, the guys made amends. They worked hard and worked our systems, from our first line to our fourth. And our dee played a very complete game.”

Derek Andrews, who is thriving with regular ice time since being acquired from the Kelowna Chiefs, recorded the winner at 11:50, on a second-period powerplay. It was Andrews’ seventh of the year. Bryce Koch drew the assist.

Koch, from Vernon’s Thomas Swales, made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal two minutes later, his 15th snipe of the season.

Cory Hochhausen connected on a powerplay with 24 seconds left, from John Saunders and Vernon’s Tanner Burns. Hochhausen leads the Knights with 17 goals.

Saunders will miss Friday night’s home tilt versus the Kamloops Storm (29-7-1-4) after fighting Dallas Barker at the buzzer.

Dustin Nikkel made 17 saves for the shutout, while Jessie Gordichuk blocked 24 shots for the Lakers (20-15-1-6).

The Knights are four points back of the second-place Grizzlies, and six behind the Storm. The division champion meets the fourth-place finishers, while two meets three in the opening best-of-seven playoff series starting Feb. 24.

The Knights host the Creston Valley Thunder Cats (24-13-0-4) Saturday night and entertain the Summerland Steam (10-30-0-2) in a Sunday matinee.

Revelstoke got 3+1 from Vernon’s Cole Sanford and 2+1 from Vernon’s Riley Spraggs in a 15-2 ambush of the Chase Heat Sunday afternoon at the Forum. Tye Sanford and Michael Roberts, both of Vernon, added 1+1 apiece for the Grizz. Owen Barker of Armstrong scored once for the Chiefs, who dipped to 5-25-1.