The North Okanagan Knights are proving to be worthy road warriors early in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
The Knights corralled the expansion 100 Mile House Wranglers 2-1 in overtime Saturday night before 540 fans at the South Cariboo Rec Centre.
North Okanagan, who stopped the previously unbeaten Kamloops Storm the night before, won their second straight away game. They face five more road tilts before hosting the Castlegar Rebels Friday, Oct. 18 at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
“We didn’t have our best game, but we picked it up at the end and found a way to win,” said veteran Mat Lambert, who went forehand, backhand, low for the winner at 1:17 of OT, on a 2-on-1 with Blaine Caton. “They are a big team that works hard.”
Mitch Profeit, who had lots of family and friends from Prince George supporting him, was sharp in making 30 saves for the win. Kristian Stead of the Wranglers was stellar in registering 36 stops as the Knights outchanced 100 Mile.
Brett Hawrys put the Knights (5-0-0-1) ahead at 13:21 of the opening period with linemates Lambert and Dennon Leibel drawing assists.
Luke Santerno replied for the Wranglers (3-3-0-1) on a powerplay a minute later.
Head coach Shawn Webb wasn’t surprised to see the Knights struggle early after a long wait in downtown 100 Mile before face-off. He gave the Hawrys line props for being effective all weekend, while praising 16-year-old rookie Caton for some No. 99-like moves.
“It was the best offensive showing so far for Blaine Caton,” said Webb. “He undressed some players with some sick stickwork.”
There were just five minor penalties called by referee Ryan Dawson.
Next up for the Knights are the 3-4 Osoyoos Coyotes Friday night. North Okanagan visits the 4-3 Kelowna Chiefs Saturday night in Rutland.