Morning Star Staff
Maybe the North Okanagan Knights should waive the Christmas break.
The Knights went into Osoyoos Saturday and thumped the Okanagan Shuswap Division-leading Coyotes 5-2 for a third straight Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory to close out the first half of the season.
“Our team is ready to keep rolling when the break is over,” said Knights forward Scott Latwat of Vernon, who scored twice Saturday.
North Okanagan trailed 1-0 after one period but led 3-2 going into the final 20 minutes, where Mitchell Lukacs scored his second of the season, on a powerplay, from Trent Redschlag and game star Layne Greene with 2:01 remaining.
Latwat added his second goal into an empty net with goalie Daniel Paul picking up an assist with 1:16 left.
After Reid Wilson staked the Coyotes to a 1-0 lead midway through the first, the Knights scored three straight in the second from Graham Watkins (team-leading 12th), Austin Fournier (7th) and Latwat (4th).
League scoring leader Rainer Glimpel scored his 17th of the season (50th point) 38 seconds after Latwat to make it 3-2 Knights.
North Okanagan outshot the hosts 41-40.
The two previous meetings with the division leaders saw the Knights lose 1-0 and 2-1.
“Saturday was really about rolling all four lines and having everyone play well. It was a true team win,” said Latwat.
“Right now, the team is going well, everyone is buying into what coach (Bryant Perrier) has to say and it’s all about the team.”
The win moves the Knights (9-20-1-4) six points clear of the Princeton Posse (8-24-0-1) in the battle for fourth place, though the Posse have a game in hand.
The two teams meet New Year’s Eve in Princeton.
The Knights host the Coyotes (23-7-0-1) in their first home game after Christmas on Saturday, Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m., at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The defending champion Kimberley Dynamiters and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks have already clinched playoff spots.