North Okanagan Knights forward Tyler Kulczycki (right) battles Anthony Tulliani of the Osoyoos Coyotes for puck possession during the Knights’ 4-3 KIJHL win Friday, Feb. 14, at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)

North Okanagan Knights draw Chiefs in first round

KIJHL: Knights closing out regular season; will play division-winning Kelowna in opening round

The North Okanagan Knights will play their final four Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular season games preparing for a first-round playoff matchup with the Bill Ohlhausen Division-winning Kelowna Chiefs.

The Knights, who will finish fourth in the division, will visit the Chiefs for Games 1 and 2 Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and 29, at the Rutland Arena before the best-of-seven divisional semifinal shifts to the Nor-Val Sports Centre.

North Okanagan was assured a playoff spot Wednesday, Feb. 12, when the Chiefs beat the Osoyoos Coyotes 3-2.

The Knights closed out a three-games-in-three-nights weekend Sunday, Feb. 16, in Kamloops with a 5-3 loss to the Storm.

Chris Thon’s goal at 9:53 of the third period snapped a 3-3 tie for the Storm, who got insurance from Carter McLellan at 12:39.

The Knights got goals from three of four players named Tyler: Jamieson, Olsen and Cheetham while Caedon Bellmann made 25 saves in goal.

North Okanagan defeated Osoyoos 4-3 Friday at home before travelling to the South Cariboo Saturday, where they fell 3-1 to the hometown 100 Mile House Wranglers.

READ MORE: D-man’s hat trick lifts North Okanagan Knights over Revelstoke in OT

Nic Bolin’s powerplay goal with 1:20 left in regulation time gave the Knights the win Friday, snapping a three-game losing streak. Bryan Brew continued his hot play with two more goals for North Okanagan, giving him four in the team’s last four games. Cheetham added a powerplay goal to support Bellmann in goal. The Spallumcheen product posted his first win of the year with a 32-save effort.

In 100 Mile House, Bellmann again made 32 saves as the Knights gave up a goal in each period to the Wranglers, who will finish third in the Doug Birks Division and will meet the Chase Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The Storm will finish fourth and play the division-winning Revelstoke Grizzlies in Round 1.

Jacob Boden broke Jakob Gullmes’ shutout bid with a goal for the Knights at 5:53 of the third period Saturday.

The Knights are scheduled to host the Wranglers Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in a make-up game. The two teams were slated to play Feb. 1 in Armstrong but the game was cancelled due to a power outage.

North Okanagan will close out the regular season on the road with games Friday in Princeton and Saturday in Kelowna.

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