It’s exactly what the North Okanagan Knights’ organization and fans needed in their final game before their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Christmas break.
The Knights snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 5-4 overtime win against the Sicamous Eagles Saturday, Dec. 18, at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Carter Wiebe was determined to send the hometown fans away happy, along with his teammates, as he scored the game-winner just 20 seconds into the extra frame, and 21 seconds after the Eagles’ Gavin Labine had tied the contest with just one second left in regulation time.
Wiebe, from Vernon, went end-to-end in the overtime and beat Sicamous goalie Jordan Lott for his first goal of the season.
The Eagles have lost nine in a row and play their final game prior to Christmas Sunday, Dec. 19, in Kamloops against the Storm. The last seven defeats have been by two goals or less.
Tyler Burke scored twice in the opening 20 minutes for the Knights, sandwiched around a Sicamous goal from Ethan Matiece to give the home side a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
Nicholas Rogalsky scored the only goal in the middle frame, giving North Okanagan a 3-1 bulge going into the third period.
Goals from Griffin Heaney at 2:38 and Paison Butler at 14:34 tied the game for the Eagles.
Devin Jameson gave the Knights a 4-3 lead at 16:42, setting the stage for Labine’s dramatics.
Salmon Arm’s Gabriel Murrells-Allaway picked up the win in goal for North Okanagan, making 35 saves while Lott finished with 28 stops.
The Knights (7-13-3-1) are fourth in the Bill Ohlhausen Division, 13 points behind Summerland and three ahead of the Princeton Posse. North Okanagan has a game in hand on the Posse.
The Eagles (5-15-2-0) are fifth in the Doug Birks Division, six points behind fourth-place 100 Mile House with two games in hand on the Wranglers.
North Okanagan will return to action kicking off 2022 with an afternoon game in Osoyoos against the Coyotes (1:35 p.m. start). Next home game for the Knights is Friday, Jan. 7, against 100 Mile House at the Nor-Val Sports Centre (7:15 p.m.).
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