The North Okanagan Knights kicked off the 2023 Kootenay International Junior Hockey LEague (KIJHL) playoffs with a 5-3 win over the Osoyoos Coyotes Friday night (Feb. 17).
Knights goaltender Austin Seibel played well to get the win, stopping 31 saves on 34 shots.
It was a strong start for the Knights, whos scored the first four goals of the game. The first goal came just 2:35 into the first period when Devin Jameson scored on the powerplay, fed by Kevin-Thomas Walters.
Adam Bourgeois and Carson Devine both scored unassisted goals to give the Knights a 3-0 lead heading into the second period. Oyosoos goaltender Kenny Gerow was pulled after his third goal against on 13 shots, replaced in net by Rhett Harkot, who ended up being named the second star of the game.
Late in the middle frame, Collin Kozijn potted a goal assisted by Adam Zimmerman to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Coyotes gave the Knights a bit of a scare in the third period, where they scored three unanswered goals to make it a one-goal hockey game. Hunter Harwood scored the first Coyotes goal, and then Coletyn Boyarski and Ethan Floris scored 22 seconds apart to get the Coyotes right back into the game.
Bourgeos relieved some of the pressure at the 14:20 mark of the third period, scoring his second goal of the game to bring the game to its final score of 5-3.
With the win, the Knights jump ahead in the best-of-seven series against the Coyotes. Game two takes place tonight (Feb. 18) at the Sun Bowl Arena. Puck drops at 7:35 p.m.