It isn’t even December and the North Okanagan Knights are at risk of missing the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs.
The Knights lost their fourth straight game, and 12th of their last 13, as they fell 8-1 to the league-leading Osoyoos Coyotes Wednesday night at the Sun Bowl.
North Okanagan bowed 4-1 to the host Kelowna Chiefs a night earlier in Rutland. The last-overall Knights (3-20-1-0-2) trail Kelowna (9-12-2-1-1) by a dozen points for the final playoff spot in the Okanagan Division. Their lone weekend tilt is tonight (7:30) against the Revelstoke Grizzlies (9-10-2-0-2) at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Coyotes (21-4-0-0-1) got half their goals on special teams Wednesday, going 3-for-4 on the powerplay and adding a shorthanded snipe.
Troy Maclise led Osoyoos with three goals and two assists, while Aaron Azevedo and Rory Neary each supplied a goal and two helpers. Vernon product Brett Jewell chipped in with a single in support of netminder Brett Soles, who finished with 27 stops.
Layne Greene, another Vernon native, handled the offence for North Okanagan. Mitch Profeit made 32 saves in the loss.
The Knights’ Brandon Palik and Coyotes’ Colten Braid dropped the gloves in a second-period scrap.
Meanwhile, Josh Kobelka had two goals to lead the Chiefs’ attack Tuesday.
With the Knights down a goal on Kobelka’s first of the night, Greene clicked on a North Okanagan powerplay with 6:26 remaining in the second period, but Kelowna retook the lead with goals 92 seconds apart by Dakota Kittle and Dylan Jamieson before the intermission.
Kobelka sealed the win with a man-advantage goal 4:32 into period three.
The teams combined for 32 penalty minutes in a physical third period. The Knights’ Curtis Sexsmith tangled with the Chiefs’ Curtis Harrichhausen, and later in the frame, Kolbeka scrapped Thomas Pattison.