The North Okanagan Knights’ offence went as cold as the weather.
The Knights were blanked in a pair of Kootenay International Junior Hockey League losses on the weekend, falling 4-0 at home Saturday to the 100 Mile House Wranglers, and dropping a tough 2-0 decision against the league-leading Kelowna Chiefs – in a potential first-round playoff preview – at the Rutland Memorial Arena.
Those losses, combined with a pair of Princeton Posse victories (4-2 over the Kamloops Storm and 3-2 against the Summerland Steam), leave the Knights in fifth place in the Okanagan-Shuswap Division, one point back of the now fourth-place Osoyoos Coyotes, and four points behind the third-place Posse (15-25-1-3).
The Coyotes (14-25-2-1) lost their only game of the weekend, 4-1 to the Revelstoke Grizzlies.
North Okanagan (15-27-0-0) hosts Osoyoos for the final time this season Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. The Knights have won three of the first five meetings with the Yotes. Osoyoos has a game in hand on North Okanagan while the Knights have a game in hand on the Posse.
The Wranglers scored the only goal they would need at 14:26 of the second period Saturday before adding three insurance markers in the game’s final nine minutes. Caedon Bellmann took the loss in net, making 27 saves.
The night before, Bellmann was player of the game for his 26-save performance against the league-best Chiefs (37-2-1-2), but the Knights could not solve Kelowna goalie Shane Zilka, who made 29 saves.
League scoring leader Brody Dale (43-62-105) broke a scoreless tie at 17:53 of the opening period and Tyson Ludba added the insurance with 70 seconds left in the middle frame.
The Knights host the Chiefs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Nor-Val.
The Posse is on a two-week break. Their next game is Friday, Feb. 15.