Morning Star Staff
The North Okanagan Knights are getting better despite losing games up for grabs.
The Fernie Ghostriders clipped the Knights 3-2 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Saturday night at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Despite their second straight close loss, Knights’ head coach Jim Armstrong feels like the team is still heading in the right direction.
“The guys were disappointed in the loss after the game, but you can see the building blocks are taking shape,” said Armstrong.
After getting rocked 11-0 in their season opener to the powerful Osoyoos Coyotes, the Knights have played teams tight; three one-goal games and two overtime nail biters.
If there was a bright spot in a pair of weekend defeats, it was the play of goaltender Mitch Profeit and their penalty kill unit.
The PK unit was nearly perfect, killing 19 of 20 powerplays.
“We need to control ourselves more and be more disciplined. Sooner or later, taking that many penalties is gonna come back and bite us,” said Armstrong.
Profeit has been peppered this season, facing an average of 34.5 shots per game. Who knows where the Knights would be without his steadiness early on.
“When you take all these penalties, you need your goalie to bail us out with a big save, and that’s exactly what he has done. He has been outstanding,” said Armstrong.
Derek Georgopoulos scored for the 3-1 Ghostriders halfway through the first, from Aidan Geiger and Tyler Rebelato.
Josh McCulloch sniped Fernie’s second goal 12:44 into the second from Dustin Watt and Justin Peers bagged the winner from Dylan Robertson and Cavin Tilsley with two minutes remaining in the second.
Armstrong says that it’s on his guys to get in the shooting lanes and block more shots. He also has noticed that the shots they are giving up, are more towards the outside and not near the scoring areas.
Mitchell Lukacs sniped his second goal of the season 6:32 into the first from Logan Geefs and Austin Fournier on the powerplay.
Geefs added another powerplay tally with five minutes remaining in the second from Austin Garrington.
It is a short rest week for the 1-2-0-1 Knights as they get set to battle the 3-1 Summerland Steam tonight at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Knights host the 1-2-1 Kelowna Chiefs Friday night and head down to Summerland Saturday night for their only road game of the month.
“We have had a pretty soft home schedule to start the year, but I want to get these guys out on the road. I believe road trips help the team gel a lot better,” said Armstrong.
Forward Collin Robin has been named an assistant to captain Dryden Profeit. Robin turns 18 in October and is from Fort St. James. Robin played in 46 games with the Knights last season and delivered five goals and 10 points.
“Collin has strong leadership qualities, he is a hard worker and he carries himself well on and off the ice,” claimed Armstrong.
Knights’ grad Zach Dyment earned 32 saves as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks edged the Surrey Eagles 4-3 in double overtime Sunday night at the BCHL Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack. Dyment, an Abbotsford product, went 17-18 with a 3.69 GAA and .907 save percentage with the Knights last year.