North Okanagan Knights seek consistency

Divisional rivalries heat up for North Okanagan Knights in December.

All but one of the North Okanagan Knights’ games this month are against a Doug Birks Divisional rival.

Not a good time to be going through consistency issues, said head coach Kris Mallette. A slip here could see the 17-8-1-1 Knights tumble from second place, whereas a streak could lift them past the first-place Sicamous Eagles (16-5-2-3).

North Okanagan tied the host Chase Heat 3-3 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Wednesday night.

They host the third-place Revelstoke Grizzlies (13-10-3-1) tonight at Nor-Val Sports Centre, and visit the Kamloops Storm (12-14-2-3) Saturday night at McArthur Park Arena.

“Our team is going through some issues right now,” said Mallette. “More often than not it’s the attention to detail and the compete (level).

“They seem to think putting together five minutes here, five minutes there, is going to win us hockey games. Teams are getting better right now and we just seem to be staying idle.”

One bright spot Wednesday night was the play of call-up Matt Halvorson, who plays Midget Tier 1 with the Home Building Centre Vipers.

“He was fantastic,” said Mallette. “If I could have I would have played him the full 60 minutes. I made a point of letting them know a 16-year-old came in here and outplayed the other five guys that have been here all season.”

Taking care of the Knights’ offence were Morgan Johnston, driving the net for his fourth goal, Derek Andrew (8th goal), after a solid cycle by Matty Saharchuk and Colton Thibault, and Tanner Burns (18th), from Mat Lambert and Josh Ellis.

First star Dominick Hodges, with his ninth and 10th of the season, and Connor Venne, salvaging the tie with a shorthanded goal with 6:47 to play, answered for the 7-19-3-1 Heat.