If the final regular-season game for the North Okanagan Knights was supposed to be a preview of the upcoming Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoff series with the Kelowna Chiefs, it might be a heckuva series.
Porter Dawson’s goal less than two minutes into the third period snapped a 1-1 tie, and lifted the hometown Chiefs to a 3-2 win over the Knights Saturday in Rutland.
Tyler Kulczycki, in the second period, and Nic Bolin with 6:52 left in the game to pull the Knights to within a goal, scored for North Okanagan, who fired 23 shots at the Chiefs’ Braeden Mitchell. Caedon Bellmann made 23 saves in taking the loss.
The best-of-seven Bill Ohlhausen Divisional semifinal starts with Games 1 and 2 Friday and Saturday at the Rutland Arena before the series shifts back to the Nor-Val Sports Centre for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday, March 2 and 3 (7:30 p.m. starts).
North Okanagan enters the post-season having lost its last three regular-season games.
The Knights fell 6-1 Friday in Princeton with the Posse scoring five unanswered goals over the final 40 minutes.
Kyle Bax tied the game 1-1 for the Knights in the first period. Bellmann finished with 32 saves while the Knights peppered Posse goalie Scott Bird with 36 shots.
In their final home game, North Okanagan fell 3-1 Thursday to the 100 Mile House Wranglers.