Morning Star Staff
Opening night in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League was good to the North Okanagan Knights.
Since then, however, the team hasn’t been able to repeat the post-game victory celebration.
The Knights suffered their fourth straight loss Saturday, falling 4-3 at home to the defending league, provincial and Western Canadian Junior B champion 100 Mile House Wranglers at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Knights were down 2-0 Saturday 3:35 in on goals by Frazer Dodd and Garrett Hilton.
“It was a couple of flukey goals,” said North Okanagan head coach Bryant Perrier. “The loss wasn’t from a lack of effort. We battled back in the game.”
North Okanagan (1-3-0-1) rallied to tie before the end of the frame with powerplay goals from Brady Marzocco (sixth) and Dean Whitcomb (first). Reed Cashato gave the Knights its only lead with a shorthanded marker (first) at 10:34 of the second period.
The lead lasted only 45 seconds. as Hilton tied it with his second of the game, and, 100 seconds later, 100 Mile had the lead on a powerplay goal from Sam Bosek.
There was no scoring in the third period.
North Okanagan lost forward Luke Harvie in the game when he was cut for seven stitches above the eye by an errant elbow, something, Perrier said, is happening far too often in the league.
“There’s a fine line between chicken s–t and discipline,” said Perrier. “We’ve got to get control of what’s going on on the ice. The spearing, slashing, head shots, checking from behind that goes on behind the play. We’ve told our players to stick up for themselves.”
The Knights were 2-for-6 on the powerplay while 100 Mile House went 1-for-6.
Brendan Henderson made 22 saves for the Wranglers (4-2) while Conor Webb stopped 31 shots for the Knights.
North Okanagan returns to action with a home doubleheader this weekend. The Knights entertain Kelowna Friday, and host the Kamloops Storm Saturday. Both games start at 7:30 p.m. at Nor-Val.