Hustle and heart Sets us apart.
The North Okanagan Knights went with just 14 skaters Saturday night at Rutland Arena and won.
With four defencemen and three forwards on injured reserve, the North Okanagan Knights went with just 14 skaters Saturday night at Rutland Arena.
Somehow, the Knights who were healthy found a way to dispatch the Kelowna Chiefs 6-3 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League play before 200 fans.
“We are really banged up and it was a great effort, said Knights’ head coach/GM Bryant Perrier. “I’m very proud of the group. It also shows that the bar just got set higher for the guys who were out. When we get our team back, we’ll be fine.”
Perrier acquired Vernon’s Grady Caton, a blueliner, from the Island Junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers, and the smooth-skating 18-year-old was a minute muncher in Rutland.
“He has wonderful vision,” said Perrier. “We got lucky; he fell out of the sky. With the number of injuries to our back end, we needed immediate assistance to bolster this position and give the group a chance to succeeed. He will help our defence move the puck out of the dee zone. He is smart and has savvy with the puck. We think he will also help improve our powerplay.”
Caton had one assist in 10 games with the 14-1 Buccaneers.
Perrier also added 17-year-old centre Mitchell Porteous from Calgary Midget AA and he responded with the Knights’ second goal versus the Chiefs.
“He’s going to help us,” said Perrier.
Jaden Hay converted two empty-netters 17 seconds apart in the final minute for the Knights, who improved to 3-8-1-3, four points back of the Chiefs for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Okanagan Division.
Ben Jossinet (first), Carl Main (fourth) and Sean Wilson (third), with the winner midway through the third period, complete the North Okanagan offence.
Brett Witala (eighth and ninth) and Jarin Sutton (fifth) replied for Kelowna. The Chiefs ran into penalty trouble as Tyler Love and Lane Paddison both took head contact minors and misconducts.
The Chiefs (6-6-1-1) outshot the Knights 51-25 with Zach Willms going the distance for the Knights.
“He (Willms) was good,” said Perrier. “He gives us a chance to win every night.”
D-man Justin Miron, who received a severe concussion in a game earlier this season against the Chiefs, remains on IR for another six weeks. Perrier said Miron requires 20 more treatments on a nerve in his neck.
Blueliners Jeff Schenkler, Drayton Martin and Cole Haberlock, along with captain Levi Harris a centre, are all nursing dislocated shoulders. F Alec McLeod was scratched for disciplinary reasons Saturday, while F Simon Korol was suspended.
The Knights visit the first-place Summerland Steam (12-4) Friday night.
The North Okanagan Knights ended their scoring woes but fell 5-4 in overtime to the Summerland Steam
The North Okanagan Knights ended their scoring woes but fell 5-4 in overtime to the host Summerland Steam in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League play Tuesday night.
Sam Jones converted his third of the season at 1:27 of OT as Summerland went to 10-3 atop the Okanagan-Shuswap Division.
Scott Robinson, with his fifth and sixth snipes of the year, Riley Smoler, with his sixth, and Cairo Rogers, with his second, shorthanded, also connected for Summerland, who trailed 3-2 early in the third.
Brady Marzocco forced the extra session with his sixth goal of the season with five seconds to play in regulation.
Jadon Hay won the faceoff and Marzocco wired a shot past Owen Pettet on a pick and roll set play. Marzocco suffered a broken nose from an elbow earlier in the period. There was no penalty on the play.
Tyler Olsen (second), Jeff Schenkler, on the powerplay for his first, and game star Levi Harris, with his second, also on the powerplay, counted other goals for the Knights (2-5-1-3).
“We’re right there,” said Knights’ head coach Bryant Perrier. “Our compete level is good. When we get the lead, we have to attack it and feel comfortable with it.”
Harris also had one assist while playing on a line with brothers Sean and Brett Wilson.
“That was his (Harris) best game of the year,” said Perrier. “We call that line The Dirt Movers. These kids are so coachable.”
The Knights outshot the Steam 37-26 and went 2-for-8 with the man advantage.
North Okanagan will host the Sicamous Eagles (1-8-1-) tonight at Nor-Val Sports Centre and visit the 100 Mile House Wranglers (6-3-2) Saturday night.
The Knights are fourth in the Okanagan-Shuswap Division, two points behind the Kelowna Chiefs and six back of Osoyoos Coyotes.
The Knights will entertain the Eagles Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. (Family Day). The game was postponed from the Knights’ home opener Sept. 9 due to ice plant issues.
The Nelson Leafs at 9-2-1 and the Grand Forks Border Bruins at 9-4-0-1 share the overall lead in the 20-team Junior B loop.
Jordan Robertson of the Border Bruins is the top pointgetter with 10 goals and 27 points, two more than teammate Trey Mason. Dylan Heppler of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks has 10 goals and 20 points.
The North Okanagan Knights are goal-challenged while doing a decent job giving up goals in the KIJHL.
They are goal-challenged while doing a decent job giving up goals in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
North Okanagan Knights’ head coach Bryant Perrier is using practice time trying to get his troops going into the trenches for more snipes.
The Knights are 2-5-1-2 and have the fewest goals – 16 – in the 20-team circuit. They have allowed 30 goals, which is second-best in the Okanagan Division and seventh-best in the KIJHL.
The Knights visit the Summerland Steam (9-3) tonight after losing 2-1 to the Chase Chiefs Saturday night and falling 2-1 in overtime to the Steam Friday.
“We’re playing very well; we’re just not scoring,” said Perrier. “In our last three games, we’ve only had six goals against. Offensively, we’re committed but we’re not getting pucks into the paint for second chances.”
Conor Webb, a late cut by the Vernon Vipers who played for the Knights last year, stoned North Okanagan with 33 saves and game star honours at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
“He was good, he made the difference for sure,” said Perrier. “He made some spectacular saves. When you’re in a groove, you’re in a groove. Good for him.”
Webb is 4-2 with a 2.77 GAA.
The Knights were without injured forwards Jett Saharchuk (ankle) and Kyle Sherwood (shoulder) and D Justin Miron (concussion).
Jaden Hay netted his second of the season in the loss to Chase. Brayden Haskell and Cam Watson replied for the Heat 6-3-2-0). Zach Willms blocked 32 shots for the Knights’ game star.
Brady Marzocco rang up his fifth of the year in Summerland, where Willms took game star with 36 stops. Marzocco leads the Knights with six points.
The Knights have just seven players with goals. Hay, Carl Main and Sean Wilson have two snipes.
The Nelson Leafs (9-2-1-0) and Grand Forks Border Bruins (9-4-0-1) are the top two teams in the league.
The Knights entertain the 1-8-1-0 Sicamous Eagles Friday night and visit the 100 Mile House Wranglers (6-3-2-0) Saturday.
Knights Go Pink For Causes
The North Okanagan Knights will look pretty in pink all October for two serious reasons.
The North Okanagan Knights will look pretty in pink all October for two serious reasons.
The Junior B hockey team will unveil their pink jerseys tonight when they entertain the Revelstoke Grizzlies (7:30) at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The Knights are marking Mental Health Awareness and Breast Cancer Month with $1 from every home game ticket going to the Canadian Cancer Foundation. Pink ribbons, flowers and chocolates will be given out for a donation at the door.
North Okanagan head coach Bryant Perrier can relate to both mental health issues and cancer.
“This is the third year we’ve promoted mental health and we’ve had one kid suffer each year,” said Perrier. “We shut down one player for two months the first year. It’s a scary thing. You can tell by their body language that something is not quite right. We talk to the players and parents before the season and ask them to let us know if they are feeling down and need some help.”
Perrier has a family member who suffers with mental illness and says the disease takes its toll on loved ones.
He also wants to see cancer beaten.
“I lost my mom to cancer five years ago at 75. She was active and healthy and she was diagnosed in September after her birthday and she died in February. That was hard to see.”
The Knights, meanwhile, have lost last year’s leading scorer Dean Whitcomb (19 goals ande 37 points).
“Dean decided to leave the game,” said Perrier. “He didn’t want a trade. He’s gone back to Prince George. It’s a tough loss for us. He knows the ropes. He brings instant energy and instant compete.”
Whitcomb scored twice in five games this season.
The Knights lost 5-2 to the Osoyoos Heat Wednesday night at the Sun Bowl.
Carl Main and Cole Haberlack scored for the Knights (1-3-1-1). Branden Onstein bagged a deuce for the Heat (4-3).
The Knights visit the Princeton Posse (4-2-1-1) Saturday night.
Success of High Profile Players Brings Instant Credibility in Recruiting
According to Coach Perrier, The 2017-2018 season was a very important one for The Knights in the area of establishing an ever greater credibility among high profile players.
“Guys like Jaden Hay having a very successful season and loving it here is a very important thing,” Perrier said. “Jaden is a high profile player and he loves being here. It attracts other top end players.”
This off season, The Knights attracted six other marquee players – Simon Miron from Mirabel, PQ, Alec Mcleod from Calgary, Zach Willms from Camrose, Nick Ewanchuk from Calgary, Tyler Olsen from Calgary and Jett Saharchuk from Fort St. James.
Perrier believes that the club’s ability to attract high profile players is a great attribute and speaks volumes of the reputation of the organization.
“Players today have a choice and they must agree to these deals,” he said. “Every player we have recruited has agreed to come here based on the organizational philosophy. In the two years we have recruited some pretty high profile guys here that are now playing Junior A.”
“If you do well with even one high profile guy, it can really create a momentum. In the past six months we have attracted some huge names and it has spilled over to this season’s acquisitions.
According to Perrier, the club had zero problem attracting new stars.
“They talk to their friends who played here last year and it was a done deal. The players are close friends and former teammate all over the KIJHL. Guys talk.”
“Our billets, organizational members and our community can take credit because word is out that this is a great place to play and live. You can do all you want on the ice as a coach, but when players want to be part of your team, it is because of your support system.”
He also credits the type of parents the organization is dealing with.
“We have grateful and cooperative parents and they speak very highly of the way their sons are treated in their billet homes and in the community.”
“It all really helps.”
Perrier says that while there is a common belief that today’s player is harder to work with, he disagrees.
“I see today’s player as more savvy and on his toes,” he said. “Can you mistreat or be dishonest with today’s players? No. Players today expect respect and honesty. If you treat them well, they are great to work with.”
“We think the world of our players and their attitudes.”
“You get what you give.”
The KIJHL North Okanagan Knights have vastly improved all three phases of their game.
Determined to better last year’s 15-win season, Bryant Perrier put on some major highway kilometers off-season recruiting.
And the head coach/GM of the North Okanagan Knights likes what he sees as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League approaches.
“We’ve drastically improved our team, from the goaltending out,” said Perrier. ” We took a different approach with our recruiting and I went to Alberta. We looked in our backyard first and we knew we had to improve our scoring and get some puck-moving d-men, players with a high hockey IQ, and we’ve done that.”
The Knights open the Junior B season Friday night in Princeton versus the Posse, and Perrier’s got piles of paperwork to sift through with 26 players still in camp, including nine returnees.
Perrier brought in three prize 17-year-old prospects from the Okotoks Midget Oilers program but he had to file inter-provincial transfer appeals with B.C. Hockey. He is confident all three appeals will be approved, but centre Ben Jossinet, left winger Jaryd Hibbert and blueliner Jason Scheible may not be in the lineup Friday.
The Knights’ home opener goes Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against the Sicamous Eagles at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Dean Whitcomb of Prince George, Jaden Hay of Grindrod and Brady Marzocco of Armstrong are returnees expected to jump-start the offence.
Whitcomb rang up 19 goals and 37 points for the goal-challenged Knights last season, while Marzocco produced 20 goals and 36 points and Hay compiled 14 goals and 29 points in just 37 games.
Vernon’s Jason Shaigec is back on the back end after a 17-point rookie campaign. The other returnees are d-men Jeff Schinkler of Peachland, Drayton Martin of Kelowna and forwards Carl Main and Riley Swiscoski, both of Vernon, and Levi Harris of Oliver.
The Knights parlayed a hat trick from rookie Alec McLeod (Calgary Midget Royals) in a 7-1 ambushing of the Eagles Monday night in Sicamous.
Hay, with a deuce, Quebec rookie Justin Miron and Main had the other goals in front of first-year goalie Zach Willms of Camrose.
Kyle Sherwood of Vernon, Scheible and Tyler Olsen of Calgary supplied snipes as North Okanagan dispatched the Eagles 3-0 Sunday night at Kal Tire Place in Vernon. Willms and Nick Ewanychuk of Calgary shared the shutout.
The Knights stopped the Kamloops Storm 3-1 Friday night in Vernon on goals from Brett Wilson of Summerland (2) and Miron. Willms and Ewanychuk were in the crease.
The Knights released hustling Armstrong Midget Tier 4 forward Matt Dolinar and Wyatt Kelly of Kelowna.
Graham Watkins and Liam McOnie, both former Knights, are the assistant coahes.
“Liam will be our goalie coach while he works for Eli Wilson,” said Perrier. “We hope to have Liam come in and work with our goalies at least twice a month.”
The Knights, who were swept by the Osoyoos Coyotes (one overtime game) in the first round of last year’s playoffs, play six times in September with October their busiest month with 10 tilts.
The Knights are tentatively scheduled to play Kamloops on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the new $20 million Quesnel Arena. Quesnel used to have a franchise in the B.C. Hockey League.
North Okanagan hosts the Kelowna Chiefs Friday, Dec. 22 before taking a Christmas break.
North Okanagan Knights Set To Open Their 2017 Exhibition Schedule
The North Okanagan Knights will open their 2017 exhibition schedule on Wednesday, August 30th at the Kamloops Storm. Game time is 7:00 pm. The game will played at the Memorial Arena.
Friday, September 1st, Kamloops travels to Vernon at Kal Tire Place to take on the North Okanagan Knights. Game time is 7:00 pm.
Sunday, September 3rd, the North Okanagan Knights host the Sicamous Eagles at Kal Tire Place in Vernon. Game time is 7:00 pm.
Monday, September 4th, the North Okanagan Knights will travel to Sicamous to take on the Eagles. Game time is 7:00 pm.
This will conclude the Knights 2017 exhibition schedule.
The Knights will start their 2017/2018 KIJHL Regular Season on Friday, September 8th when they travel to Princeton to battle the Posse. Game time is 7:00 pm.
The Knights will return home 24 hours later for their home opener at the Nor-Val Arena in Armstrong. They will host the Sicamous Eagles. Game time is 7:30 pm.