Morgan Johnston fired a deuce in his return to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, but it wasn’t enough as the North Okanagan Knights bowed 4-3 in overtime to the Osoyoos Coyotes Friday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Johnston, an 18-year-old Kelowna native who was released by the BCHL West Kelowna Warriors, and Colin Robin staked the 2-0-0-1 Knights to a 3-1 lead late in the second period before the 2-2 Yotes stormed back with three unanswered goals.
Robin, a Fort St. James product, scored his first KIJHL goal on a terrific solo effort, collecting the puck in traffic and then getting netminder Lawrence Langan (28 saves) moving laterally before tucking the puck under the Osoyoos tender.
Johnston one-timed a Tyler Godberson offering from the slot for his first snipe with 6:06 remaining in the first period. He then unleashed a bomb from the point during a second-period powerplay to earn the 3-1 goal.
Each of North Okanagan’s three regular-season games have gone to OT, only this time it was the Coyotes who came out on top as Cameron Dobransky collected the winner on a 4-on-3 powerplay.
“He walked in off the half wall and absolutely bar-downed it,” said Knights’ head coach Shawn Webb. “If you’re going to place a shot, that’s where you do it.”
Webb felt the Knights struggled to find their rhythm early, and once they earned the two-goal lead, they fizzled.
“We played catch up all game. From the drop of the puck we weren’t right. Second period, we started off really good, got two goals and you could feel the momentum had turned.”
However, a couple of missed defensive assignments led to goals 80 seconds apart by Troy Maclise and Bradley Williams, who tied the game with 1:42 to go in the second frame.
“They were goals that we allowed to happen, versus them creating it,” said Webb, who credited netminder Zach Dyment (34 saves) for getting the team at least one point.
“From the time we were 3-3, Zach made five or six ridiculous saves. The fact we went to overtime was on the play of Zach Dyment.
“We were in a position where we could have took that game and ran with it. Instead, we let our foot up.”
Vernon forward Cole Woodliffe was called up for action Friday, and Webb expected forward Jagger Williamson, another Vernon minor hockey product, to play Saturday as the Knights hosted the 0-3 Revelstoke Grizzlies at Nor-Val.
North Okanagan caps a three-game home weekend against the Princeton Posse (1-2-0-1) this afternoon (3:00).