The North Okanagan Knights’ offence got stuck somewhere in the Paulson Summit.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League team dropped both weekend road games in the West Kootenays, scoring just twice.
After dropping a 2-1 shootout decision to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Friday, Jan. 20, the Knights fell 4-1 to the Leafs in Nelson Saturday, Jan. 21.
Despite the setbacks, the Knights (16-16-3-2) increased their lead over the fourth-place Summerland Steam (13-17-3-3) in the Bill Ohlhausen Division to five points.
Summerland lost both of its weekend home contests, falling 6-1 Friday to the division- and league-leading Princeton Posse, then getting shutout 24 hours later, 5-0, by the second-place Osoyoos Coyotes. The Steam clinched the fourth and final division playoff spot when the Kelowna Chiefs lost 3-1 to Princeton.
After a scoreless first period Saturday, it was North Okanagan who opened the scoring on a goal from Grayson Williamson at 11:41 of the middle frame. Tyson Lautard tied things for the Leafs before the end of the period.
Kieran Christian got the game-winner 84 seconds after the ice clean, and Crae Dawson and Ryan Quast added insurance markers for Nelson, who sit in second place in the Neil Murdoch Division at 19-13-4-1, just two points ahead of third-place Beaver Valley, and only three points back of the division-leading Grand Forks Border Bruins.
Knights goalie Austin Seibel had a rough start to the game. He was brought down seconds into the first period after a defender chased a Leaf into the Knights’ goaltender. It happened again less than four minutes later, prompting Josh Hager to come in relief for a few minutes and stop one shot while Seibel appeared to deal with an equipment issue.
Seibel, who also played in Friday’s loss, finished with 42 saves Saturday, and stopped 90 of 95 shots in the two losses.
The Knights return to action Friday, Jan. 27, when they host Osoyoos in a potential first-round playoff preview at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre. Game time will be 7:15 p.m.
—-with files from Tyler Harper, Nelson Star
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