Matt Mitchell recorded 19 stops in his Kootenay International Junior Hockey League debut, backstopping the North Okanagan Knights to a 5-2 win over the Chase Heat Friday night at Nor-Val Centre.
Mitchell, a Calgary product, was acquired from the Comox Valley Glacier Kings of the Vancouver Island Junior B loop, where he went 3-2 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
Tanner Burns jumpstarted the Knights’ offence with a pair of first-period goals, his team-leading 12th and 13th.
“He was hard in on the forecheck, getting to pucks and creating chances off that,” said Knights’ head coach Kris Mallette.
D-man Nathan Browne (2nd goal, powerplay) and Derek Andrews made it 4-0 after two periods. Chase responded with goals by Shelby Kostyshen (8th) and Connor Venne (6th) in the third period. Josh Ellis (4th) completed the scoring with 1:11 to play, helping North Okanagan (14-5-0-1) snap a three-game skid.
Chase is 6-14-1-1.
“There was a lot to build on, and hopefully we can carry that over to Revelstoke (Grizzlies, Saturday night at the Forum),” said Mallette.
The Knights host the 10-7-2-2 Kamloops Storm today in a 3 p.m. matinee at Nor-Val.