Twenty minutes from ending a six-game losing skid and finishing off a tough three-games-in-three-days Kootenays road trip with a big W.
Brendan Smith’s powerplay goal with 19 seconds left in regulation time, however, capped a comeback from a 2-0 second-period deficit and lifted the hometown Nelson Leafs to a 3-2 win over the North Okanagan Knights in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Sunday afternoon.
Game star Kelsey Byrne, with his third of the year, and Liam Molloy, with his first of the season, staked the Knights to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Jordan Davie made it 2-1 seven minutes into the third period before Kyle Chernenkoff tied the game with 2:54 remaining.
Goalie Daniel Paul made 31 stops, including 15 in the final period when the Knights were outshot 18-3 and 34-19 overall.
The Knights (3-10-0-1), who fell 4-0 Saturday in Castlegar to the Rebels, have lost seven in a row and sit in the basement of the Okanagan Division, one point behind fourth-place Kelowna.
North Okanagan outshot the Rebels 43-35 but could not solve Castlegar goalie Joseph McLeod. Paul was tagged with the loss.
The Knights open up a four-game home stand Friday when they host the Sicamous Eagles (3-10-0-0) at 7:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong.