The North Okanagan Knights saw first-hand why the Kimberley Dynamiters are the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s best team.
The Nitros held North Okanagan to 17 shots while peppering 44 pucks at Knights goalie Sean Kanervisto Saturday at the Kimberley Civic Centre as the Dynamiters scored a 3-0 win to improve to a league-best 25-3-0-1. The Knights, losers of five straight, fell to 9-17-0-4.
After a scoreless first period, the Dynamiters scored the only goal they would need on a powerplay at 7:47 of the middle frame courtesy of Ryan Piva. Daniel Anton added a second powerplay goal at 10:50 to make it 2-0 home team, and Jed Buttler rounded out the scoring for Kimberley with 3:43 left in regulation time.
Blake Pilon collected his second shutout of the year.
North Okanagan was coming off a disastrous final frame the night before in Fernie, as the hometown Ghostriders scored six times on 19 third-period shots for an 8-4 win as the Knights went 0-2 in the East Kootenays.
Nic Bolin’s second goal of the game 1:10 into the third tied the game 2-2 for the Knights before the Ghostriders, who are second in the Eddie Mountain Division, 14 points behind Kimberley, scored three times in 5:49, including a short-handed goal, to take a 5-2 lead. Kevin-Thomas Walters got one back for North Okanagan on a powerplay, but Fernie replied with two goals in 45 seconds, including a powerplay marker, to go up 7-3.
Bolin added his hat trick goal at 12:34 but that’s as close as the Knights got.
Caedon Bellmann, still looking for his first win of the year, took the loss in goal, making 31 saves as the Knights were outshot 39-29. Chance Griffith got the win.
The Knights sit fourth in the Bill Ohlhausen Division, eight points behind the third-place Summerland Steam, with the teams facing off Wednesday in Summerland. North Okanagan is now just seven points ahead of the Osoyoos Coyotes in the battle for the division’s final playoff spot.
North Okanagan wraps up its first-half of the schedule Friday, Dec. 20, in Kelowna against the division-leading Chiefs. Next home game for the Knights is Friday, Jan. 10, against the Kamloops Storm.