Morning Star Staff
Sweep the Princeton Posse and improve their playoff chances by a bunch.
That’s the game-plan for the youthful North Okanagan Knights who turned in a solid Kootenay International Junior Hockey League weekend.
After stopping the Kelowna Chiefs 6-2 Friday night, the rebuilding Knights took the Okanagan Division-leading Osoyoos Coyotes to the limit before falling 2-1 Sunday night at the Sun Bowl.
The Coyotes are the second-best team in the 20-team Junior B loop and have scored 110 goals, second most behind the No. 1. Kimberley Dynamiters.
The Knights, who lost 4-3 to the Coyotes in late October, are fourth in the Okanagan Division at 6-20-1-4, two points ahead of the Posse. The Knights have produced 62 goals, second lowest in the KIJHL.
Princeton holds three games in hand. The Posse visit Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong Friday night and host the Knights Sunday afternoon. The teams will play three more times to close the regular season.
“We wanna make playoffs so we want to go out and work our bags off and if we win both games, we’ll be set up for the playoffs,” said Knights veteran Mitchell Lukacs, of Vernon.
Osoyoos grabbed the lead five minutes into Sunday’s tilt before 300 fans when Jackson Glimpel buried his sixth of the year when left open in front of Knights goalie Daniel Paul (game star).
The Knights equalized on a powerplay seven minutes later with Trent Redschlag’s shot ricocheting in off a Coyote past goalie Adam Jones. It was Redschlag’s fifth of the season.
Braeden Tuck pocketed the winner on a powerplay scramble 2:49 into the third period for his 14th of the season. Rainer Glimpel, a 20-year-old Calgary product, earned his 30th assist and 46th point. Glimpel is second in league points.
“We’re playing a lot more aggressive and getting under their skin,” said Lukacs. “We’re definitely harder to play and that’s what we are priding ourselves on. We want teams to say, ‘Oh no, we’re playing the Knights.’”
Lukacs is playing on a crash-and-bang line with newbie Jack Berger of Creston and Dallas Keller of Oliver. Berger, 17, joined the Knights Friday night after getting 2-3-5 in 18 games with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. Berger compiled 3-4-7 in 36 games his rookie year in Creston.
“He’s quick and likes to lay the body so he’s gonna help us,” said Lukacs.
Osoyoos (21-5-0-1) outshot North Okanagan 39-31. Tuck was game star for the Coyotes, who have won seven straight and are 14-0 at home.