Saunders secures Knights’ winner

John Saunders fires winner as North Okanagan Knights upend Summerland Steam 4-3 Friday night.

Defenceman John Saunders scored with five minutes left in regulation as the North Okanagan Knights brushed back the host Summerland Steam 4-3 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League play Friday night.

The win vaulted North Okanagan, now 22-10-0-1, into second place in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference Doug Birks Division, one point ahead of the Revelstoke Grizzlies (21-7-0-2). The Grizz, however, have three games in hand.

Scoreless after 20 minutes, Bryce Koch put the Knights on the board early in the second frame, assisted by Josh Wickenheiser and Cory Hochhausen.

Goals just over a minute apart by Summerland’s Jordan McCallum and Steve Semenoff gave the hosts the lead before the Knights’ Brett Hawrys equalized on a penalty shot midway through the frame.

Kublai Barlas restored the Steam’s lead with a powerplay goal in the third period, but Koch responded with his second goal of the night just over a minute later.

The Knight, who are 8-2 in their last 10 games, visit the Chase Heat (2-27-1-0) at Art Holding Memorial Arena Thursday before the Christmas break.