Morning Star file photo

North Okanagan Knights hold off Coyotes’ rally

KIJHL: Huge 5-4 road win in Osoyoos lifts North Okanagan Knights into playoff spot

Something about the desert air agrees with the North Okanagan Knights.

The Knights built up a 5-1 lead in Osoyoos Wednesday, then held off a furious Coyotes comeback to post a 5-4 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League road win at the Sun Bowl Arena.

The victory lifted the Knights (15-25-0-0) into a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Okanagan Shuswap Division with the idle Princeton Posse (13-25-1-3), and to within one point of the third-place Coyotes (14-24-2-1).

North Okanagan has won three of five against the Coyotes, including the last two in the South Okanagan. The teams play once more, Friday, Feb. 8, at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.

RELATED: North Okanagan Knights remain in playoff spot

North Okanagan has eight regular season games remaining. They have a game in hand on the Posse, and have played the same amount of games as Osoyoos. The Knights host Princeton on Monday, Feb. 18.

Kevin-Thomas Walters and Jett Saharchuk scored two minutes apart late in the first period as the Knights opened the scoring, and goals from Nicholas Teale and Griffin Evans – his third in as many games – gave North Okanagan a 4-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.

Brandon Della Paolera broke Caedon Bellmann’s shutout bid with a powerplay marker at 2:47 of the third. Dylan Huber’s powerplay goal from Matthew Dolinar and Grady Caton at 7:26 gave North Okanagan what looked like an insurmountable four-goal cushion with only 12 minutes to go.

Cue the Coyotes’ rally.

Della Paolera got his second at 12:25, Bryson Garska made it 5-3 at 14:41, and Della Paolera completed his hat trick at 18:48. That would be as close as Osoyoos would get as the Knights held off the home team in the final 72 seconds to preserve the huge two-point win.

Bellmann finished with 26 saves. North Okanagan outshot the Yotes 33-30.

The Knights visit the league-leading Kelowna Chiefs (36-2-1-2) Friday, then entertain the 100 Mile House Wranglers (21-15-1-3), who are second in the Doug Birks Division, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Flavours abound at soft open for hard Coldstream cidery

Tony’s Craft Cidery is open for free taste tests all month, will have grand opening next spring

Vernon Vipers stymied in shootout

The Vipers fell 3-2 to the Langley Rivermen Friday night in their second shootout in as many games

Vernon firefighters snuff out basement fire in single-family home

The residents were not home at the time of the fire, which resulted in no injuries

Vernon firefighters, councillors push new trucks into service

Vernon Fire Rescue Services ceremony took place at Station 1 Saturday morning

Downtown Vernon building evacuated due to high carbon monoxide levels

One person was taken to hospital Friday afternoon as a precaution for CO exposure

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Okanagan philanthropists treated to moving speech on National Philanthropy Day

David Roche shared his message to the Association of Fundraising Professionals and non-profits

Most Read