Morning Star Staff
A goal in each period and 30 stops from the newbie propelled the Osoyoos Coyotes to a 3-0 win over the North Okanagan Knights in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Sunday afternoon at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The two teams meet again tonight at the Sun Bowl to complete the home-and-home series.
The Okanagan Shuswap Division-leading Coyotes (29-8-1-1) got goals from Cody Allen, Judd Repole and Carter Robinson, who was coming off a six-point game Saturday in an 11-2 win over the Spokane Braves.
Stephen Heslop got the shutout in his Coyotes debut. The 20-year-old goalie was acquired at the trade deadline from the Princeton Posse.
Daniel Paul made 41 saves for the Knights who, less than 24 hours earlier, put together one of their best efforts of the year in dumping the third-place Kelowna Chiefs 5-1 at Nor-Val.
Paul stopped 33 of 34 shots as the Knights outshot Kelowna 38-34 to pick up their 11th win of the season. Ryan Moon staked the home side to a 1-0 lead with his ninth of the season, the only goal of the first period.
Scott Latwat made it 2-0 North Okanagan with his sixth of the year on a powerplay.
After Jaden McNulty cut the lead in half for the Chiefs (18-16-2-1), rookie Brady Marzocco scored his second goal in three games to restore the Knights’ two-goal advantage after 40 minutes.
Cameron Welch added his eighth of the year on a North Okanagan powerplay midway through the final period, and Mitchell Lukacs rounded out the scoring with his fourth.
The Knights (11-22-3-4) maintain an eight-point lead over the Princeton Posse (9-28-2-1) in the battle for the fourth and final divisional playoff spot. Each team has 12 regular season games left.
Tonight’s game kicks off a four-game road swing for the Knights, who visit the Kamloops Storm Friday and the Chiefs Sunday in Rutland.