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North Okanagan Knights look to take bite out of Osoyoos

KIJHL best-of-seven divisional final between Knights and Coyotes begins Friday, Feb. 17, in Osoyoos
Brodie Pearson (right) and the North Okanagan Knights take on the Osoyoos Coyotes in a best-of-seven KIJHL divisional semifinal starting Friday, Feb. 17, in Osoyoos.

On paper, there’s not a lot separating the North Okanagan Knights and Osoyoos Coyotes.

Hockey games, however, are not played on paper.

The Knights and Coyotes begin their best-of-seven Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Bill Ohlhausen Division semifinal Friday night, Feb. 17, in the South Okanagan.

Games 1 and 2 are in Osoyoos on Friday and Saturday before the series shifts to the North Okanagan for Game 3 Monday, Feb. 20, and Game 4 Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre.

Both games start at 7 p.m.

The Coyotes earned home-ice advantage based on their 27-13-3-1 record for 58 points in the regular season, eight points better than the Knights, who went 22-16-4-2.

The two teams split their six meetings in the regular season, 3-3, though the Knights won the last two encounters, 5-4 on Jan. 8 in Osoyoos, and 6-2 on Jan. 27. In those six games, North Okanagan scored one more goal than the Coyotes, 26-25.

The Knights enter the playoffs having won six of their last seven contests. Osoyoos won four of its final seven games.

Game 5, if necessary, would be in Osoyoos Friday, Feb. 24. Game 6, if necessary, would be played in Armstrong Saturday, Feb. 25. And should the series go the distance, Game 7 is slated for Monday, Feb. 27, in the south Okanagan.

All games in Osoyoos start at 7:35 p.m.

The series winner will face the winner of the other divisional semifinal between the regular-season, President’s Cup-winning Princeton Posse and Summerland Steam in the Ohlhausen final.

Both teams had two players winning year-end divisional awards.

Jack Henderson of Osoyoos, the 2021-22 league MVP, took the divisional MVP award, as well as being the division’s top scorer.

Henderson was fourth in the league in 2022-23 with 73 points in 38 games.

Knights goalie Austin Seibel was the division’s rookie of the year, and teammate Matthew Johnston was named Most Sportsmanlike Player.

In his first season in the KIJHL, Seibel finished fifth in wins with 16, which led all rookie goalies. He had two shutouts to go with a .926 save percentage and a 2.95 goals against average.

Johnston receives the Most Sportsmanlike Player award for the Bill Ohlhausen Division for the second straight season.

He had 22 penalty minutes for the season. In 84 career KIJHL games, Johnston has 28 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-11, 175-lb forward was second on the Knights with 45 points in 42 games.


The Knights held their awards dinner following the wrap of the regular season.

Forward Kevin-Thomas Walters and Seibel were named co-winners of the team’s Most Valuable Player Award.

The other winners:

Fan Favourite - Tyson McCaig;

Top Scorer - Walters;

Community Service - Tag Bryson;

Most Improved - Grayson Williamson;

Scholastic Player of the Year - Cash Anderson;

Unsung Hero - Richard Burden;

Top Defenceman - Fraser O’Brien;

Rookie of the Year - Austin Seibel;

Knights of the Round Table - Walters, O’Brien, Ethan O’Rourke, Colin Kozjin, Matthew Johnstone (captains and assistants).

READ MORE: North Okanagan Knights snap 5-game losing skid with win over Osoyoos

READ MORE: Osoyoos Coyotes score 4-3 win over North Okanagan Knights

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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