Morning Star Staff
It was a moral victory of sorts for the North Okanagan Knights.
The Knights bowed 4-0 to the league-leading Osoyoos Coyotes in Kootenay International Junior B Hockey League action Sunday afternoon in front of 100 fans at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The last two times the Knights played Osoyoos, they gave up eight goals in each defeat.
“Overall, Sunday’s game was good,” said North Okanagan head coach Jim Armstrong. “It was 2-0 after two periods to a high-powered offensive team. We only had 10 forwards and five dee due to injuries, so I was happy with our effort.”
Lawrence Langan made 21 saves for the Coyotes to register his fourth shutout of the season. Mitch Profeit turned aside 36 shots for the Knights.
The only goal the Coyotes needed came on a first period powerplay at 18:52 from Troy Maclise (21st goal).
Colin Bell scored twice (13 goals on the year) and Brett Anderson added his second for the Coyotes (32-6-0-0-1), who enjoyed period leads of 1-0 and 2-0.
The defeat Sunday came less than 24 hours after the Knights surrendered a 3-2 lead with 90 seconds left in regulation time, then lost 4-3 in overtime to the hometown Kelowna Chiefs (15-18-2-1-1) Saturday night at the Rutland Arena.
“That was a tough one,” said Armstrong, whose club is 19 points behind the Chiefs for the final Okanagan Division playoff spot.
“That’s two games in a row against Kelowna where we’ve thrown away a win.”
Ryan Lawson’s 11th goal of the season with 1:33 left in regulation sent Saturday’s game into overtime, which the Chiefs won on a Dylan Jamieson (11th) marker with eight seconds remaining in the first extra period.
The loss overshadowed a marvellous showing by North Okanagan player of the game, goalie Josh Shank, who turned aside 57 of 61 Kelowna shots.
The Knights opened the scoring five minutes into the game on a powerplay goal from Logan Geefs (11th). After Joel Kobelka (19th) tied the game for the Chiefs, Jordan Passmore’s unassisted goal (11th) 33 seconds later gave the Knights a 2-1 lead after one.
After a scoreless middle frame, the Knights extended their lead to 3-1 on Austin Garrington’s seventh goal of the year.
Lawson scored on a powerplay at 8:13 to cut the lead to one, then forced overtime with his late goal.
Chris Turner made 31 saves in the Kelowna net to pick up the victory.
The league’s trade deadline is Saturday, and the Knights have already made one deal, acquiring F Dustin Kustiuk from the Columbia Valley Rockies for futures.
Kustiuk, 18, who lists Kelowna as his hometown, is 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds. He had five assists in 12 games with the Rockies.
“He’s a big kid, a power forward and he should be a big help to our team,” said Armstrong, who noted he will explore “any deal that would make our team better.”
North Okanagan (5-29-1-0-3) visits the Coyotes tonight and face the host Summerland Steam Sunday.
Next home game for the Knights is Saturday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong against the Kimberley Dynamiters.