The Princeton Posse have shown a knack for playing the North Okanagan Knights hard.
Despite trailing North Okanagan by 10 points in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League standings, the Posse always seem get up for the Knights. They did it again Friday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre, earning a 4-2 decision in front of 160 fans.
Tanner Cochrane, with his seventh goal in eight games since joining the Knights mid-season, jumpstarted the offence five minutes into the first period. Mat Lambert and Logan Geefs, both of Vernon, drew assists on the play.
Lambert, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound forward, leads the 14-13-0-1 Knights in scoring with 12-15-27 in 28 games.
North Okanagan’s special teams continued to struggle Friday night, as the 8-16-0-3 Posse responded with back-to-back powerplay goals three minutes apart later in the period. Eric Schmidt (10th goal) recorded the first on a 5-on-3 while the Knights’ Logan Mostat (tripping) and Morgan Johnston (interference) watched from the box. David Suidy (11th) fired the other man-advantage goal at 9:53.
The Knights have the league’s second-worst powerplay (12.50 per cent) and third-worst penalty kill (16.67 per cent).
Schmidt (11th, 12th) capped his-hat trick performance with goals in the second and third periods.
Knights’ captain TJ Christensen, with his third of the season, assisted by Brett Hawrys and Blake Culbert, completed North Okanagan’s attack in front of netminder Mitch Profeit (20 saves).
Posse keeper Spencer Huff posted 20 stops for his sixth win.
Friday’s tilt featured a third-period scrap between Vernon d-man Riley Booth and the Posse’s Tyler Ehlers.
The Knights continued a three-game weekend Saturday night against the host Kelowna Chiefs (20-7-0-3), who are first in the Okanagan Division. Shawn Webb’s crew entertains the second-place Osoyoos Coyotes (17-12) in a 3 p.m. matinee today in Armstrong.
Luc Gradisar pocketed the overtime winner as the host Coyotes clipped the Chiefs 5-4 at the Sun Bowl.
Colin Chelka led Osoyoos with 1+3.