The North Okanagan Knights leapfrogged the idle Kelowna Chiefs into first place in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Bill Olhlausen Division Tuesday at home.
An empty-net goal from Cade Enns, his second of the game, sealed a 6-4 Knights win over division rivals Princeton Posse at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. The Knights had taken a 5-1 lead into the final period before the Posse erupted for three goals to pull to within one.
The win gives North Okanagan a 5-1-0-1 record and 11 points, one ahead of the Chiefs, who are a perfect 5-0-0-0 and have two games in hand on the Knights.
Kevin-Thomas Walters and Lee Christensen each scored in the opening 2:02 on the first two shots for the Knights, chasing Princeton starting goalie Dominic Bosa in favour of Jaysen MacLean. John Lee scored his first of three goals on the night before Enns restored North Okanagan’s two-goal advantage before the end of the first period.
Nic Bolin, on a powerplay, and Cameron McKenzie scored in the second to give the Knights a 5-1 advantage that looked comfortable until the Posse found their offence in the games’ final six minutes.
Lee, on a powerplay, scored at 14:06 and added his hat-trick goal at 16:01 to pull Princeton to within 5-3. Chase Cooke made Knights players and fans uncomfortable when he tallied at 16:33 to cut the Knights lead to one. Enns sent fans home happy with his empty-netter at 19:09.
Sean Kanervisto made 23 saves in goal for the Knights while MacLean made 28 saves for the Posse.
North Okanagan wraps up a four-game homestand when they host the Sicamous Eagles – the only team to beat the Knights in regulation time this season – Friday, and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Saturday. Both games start at 7:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Posse host Beaver Valley Friday and the Chiefs Saturday at the Princeton and District Arena, both games start at 7 p.m.