Beat the league’s best team for your biggest win of the year. Beat the league’s best team for your biggest win of the year with a patchwork lineup: priceless.
The North Okanagan Knights – with four affiliate players in their lineup due to injuries and absences – knocked off the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s top team, the Kelowna Chiefs, 5-4 Tuesday at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre in an entertaining, up-and-down game between the Bill Ohlhausen Division rivals.
Kevin-Thomas Walters’ second goal of the game, an unassisted, shorthanded marker into an empty net at 18:57 turned out to be the winner, as it gave the Knights a 5-3 lead. Ryan Antonakis scored on the powerplay with just six seconds left in regulation for the Chiefs.
Kelowna got the only goal of the first period. Tyler Olsen, from Lee Christensen and Ty Tippett, tied the game 1-1 for the Knights 1:11 into the middle frame. After Kelowna restored its lead, call-up player Angus Allchin of Clearwater – in his first KIJHL contest – equalized on the powerplay for North Okanagan with Cole Haberlack and Walters drawing assists.
Allchin was joined in the game by fellow affiliate players Darius Makse of Armstrong, Jake Watson from Sicamous and Aiden Robson of Kelowna. The quartet combined have seven games of KIJHL experience.
Walters, the league’s First Star of the Week following a hat trick in a 4-1 win over the Osoyoos Coyotes, gave the Knights a 3-2 lead with a powerplay goal at 12:05 of the third period before Kayson Gallant scored his second of the game for Kelowna to equalize the contest 3-3. Haberlack, from Tyler Jamieson and Kyle Bax, scored on the powerplay at 16:57 to give North Okanagan the lead.
Sean Kanervisto made 46 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Knights while Michael Toole stopped 33 shots for the Chiefs.
The win improved North Okanagan’s record to 7-9-0-2, still tied for third in the division with the Princeton Posse, who whipped the winless Coyotes 8-2 Tuesday. Kelowna dropped to 13-2-0-0. The Chiefs have an eight-point lead on the second-place Summerland Steam.
The Knights now get 10 days off before hitting the road for three games in Golden, Invermere and Creston Nov. 15-17. North Okanagan’s next home game is Friday, Nov. 22, against the Grand Forks Border Bruins at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.