The North Okanagan Knights will be happy to return home after dropping the final two games of their longest road schedule of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season.
Shawn Webb’s Knights capped a seven-game away stint at 4-3 after falling 3-0 to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Saturday, followed by a 4-2 loss to the Grand Forks Border Bruins Sunday.
They begin a four-game home stand at Nor-Val Sports Centre Friday night (7:30) against the Castlegar Rebels (6-4-0-3). The Kelowna Chiefs (6-3-0-1) visit Armstrong for a Sunday matinee (3 p.m.).
North Okanagan, second in the Okanagan Division at 7-3-0-1, is one of three teams (Kimberley Dynamiters and Nelson Leafs) to remain undefeated in regulation at home.
“We’ve been on the road since the end of September,” said Webb. “To come out of it where we’re at, above .500, is pretty good.
“The last three games (North Okanagan grounded the Spokane Braves 2-1 in OT Friday night), especially the two we lost, we didn’t do what we needed to do to win.
“But we’re still very happy with our kids. We’re not quitting, we’re not rolling over.”
Dallas Calvin and Ryan Edwards each registered a goal and assist for the 7-2 Nitehawks, who outshot the Knights 41-17. Calvin, who scored at the 21-second mark, left the BCHL Vernon Vipers last week to rejoin his hometown KIJHL team, and Edwards is also a former Viper prospect.
Josh Round recorded 17 saves for his first shutout of the season. Knights’ tender Zach Dyment made 38 stops.
Referee Mike Page handed out eight misconducts (six to North Okanagan) in Saturday’s penalty-filled game. Webb is thankful he drilled his penalty killers at practice last week, as they held the skilled Nitehawks to one goal on 10 powerplays. The Bruins went scoreless on seven attempts.
Webb said the penalty parade in Beaver Valley disrupted any chance for consistency.
“It just takes the flow out of our game,” he said. “It’s tough to get any flow going when you’re lines are screwed up and guys are sitting 10 minutes.”
North Okanagan held a 2-1 lead on the 6-5-1 Border Bruins in the second period on singles by Logan Mostat and Paul Biegel.
Lincoln Lane and Franco Colapaolo, each with a single, and Mitchell Dolman, with the winner and an empty-netter with three seconds remaining, handled the Bruins’ attack.
Dominic Stadnyk made 39 stops for the win. Dyment recorded 30 saves for the Knights.