Knights defenseman Cole Haberlack, now in his third year with the Knights. (Photo: North Okanagan Knights)

North Okanagan Knights win home opener in double-OT thriller

The Knights defeat the Kamloops Storm 3-2 in a marathon of a home opener

If the North Okanagan Knights’ first home game of the season was a sign of things to come, it’s going to be an exciting year at NorVal arena.

The Knights fought their way into a second overtime period against the Kamloops Storm Friday night, and Tyler Olsen played the hero with a goal that came with less than three minutes left in the game’s fifth and final frame.

The goal sealed a 3-2 win in a game that could have easily ended as a comeback win for the visiting team.

Olsen had two points on the night and was unsurprisingly named the first star of the game. He leads the Knights in scoring through the first three games of the season with five points.

The Knights opened the scoring near the end of the first with a goal from forward Cade Enns, assisted by Olsen and Lee Christensen. The next scoring play came a minute into the second period, when Ty Tippett tallied an unassisted goal while shorthanded to put the Kights up 2-0.

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers drop home opener to Victoria Grizzlies

Kamloops would get one back four minutes later courtesy of Jacob Vautour to set the score at 2-1 going into the third period. Halfway through the final frame it was the Storm’s Brett Mero who scored the goal that effectively turned the game into a marathon.

The Knights racked up high totals in two stat categories: shots and penalty minutes. They out-shot the Storm 39-25 but gave Kamloops five powerplays, and Cameron McKenzie received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for making head contact on a hit. But the penalty kill was solid, allowing no goals on any of the Storm’s extra-man opportunities.

The Knights are looking to improve on their standings in the The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League from last year, when they finished last in the Okanagan division. They’re off to a good start with a 2-0-1 record in the early goings.

The Knights will look to keep the adrenaline from last night going as they face off against the Castlegar Rebels at home tonight at 7:30 p.m.

READ MORE: Epic overtime battle, big turnout for memorial night to late owner of Okanagan hockey team

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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