Three unanswered goals in the game’s final 14 minutes gave the hometown Chase Heat a 7-5 win over the North Okanagan Knights in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Saturday, Nov. 14.
It was the Knights’ regular-season opener while Chase improved to 1-1 after falling 3-2 to the Storm in Kamloops Friday, as the league kicked off its new season.
North Okanagan hosts Kamloops Sunday afternoon, Nov. 15, for its home opener at the Nor- Val Sports Centre in Armstrong at 12:30 p.m. Spectators are not allowed due to COVID but the game can be seen live on Hockey TV.
The Knights jumped out to a 3-2 first period lead Saturday on goals from Angus Allchin, Kyle Bax and Adam Gordon.
Chase took a 4-3 lead in the second before Jacob Boden evened the score at 16:28 of the frame.
Cody Laybolt’s unassisted goal at 2:31 of the third period gave North Okanagan a 5-4 lead before Aiden Brown tied it for the Heat at 6:44.
Jacob Biensch scored the eventual game-winner on a Chase powerplay at 11:50 before Trevor Kennedy sealed the two points with an empty-net goal at 19:07.
Jacob Dubinsky made 28 saves in goal for North Okanagan while Kiev Kineshanko picked up the win, making 32 saves for the Heat.
The Knights will play their first 13 games of the regular season in a cohort with the Heat and Storm.
Knights focused on team game
Season preview by Emanuel Sequeira, KIJHL director of communications
Leading up to the start of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s 2020-21 season, which starts Nov. 13, 2020, the league is publishing team previews.
These stories will highlight areas of focus for the respective organizations as well as players. We last featured the Nelson Leafs and now shift to the Bill Ohlhausen Division to highlight the North Okanagan Knights.
The Knights finished 18th in the KIJHL’s regular season standings with 13 wins. They qualified for the Teck Cup playoffs, losing in five games to the Kelowna Chiefs. Their off-season focus was on putting together the right group to play as a team.
“The focus has been finding players that will be able to increase our overall group based on skill and ones who we feel fit our model as an association,” says Knights head coach Dean McAmmond, who began an extended camp with practices in October for the majority of their group.
To keep the players motivated, McAmmond created internal competition to make practice enjoyable.
Matthew Johnson, 16 – a minor midget player from the Thompson Blazers.
Devin Jameson, 16 – Thompson Blazers U18AAA
“Both players are local boys and have potential to keep climbing the junior ladder,” says McAmmond.
The Knights also signed goalies Cole Wilson and Jake Dubinsky.
“We have some good character depth coming back to our group – Nic Teale, Cade Enns, Brian Brew and Owen Spannier,” says McAmmond, as Spannier was picked up in a trade. “These boys will be a big part of our group leadership.”
McAmmond would like his team to play a puck-moving game where the whole team is needed for success.