A strong first half propelled the North Okanagan Knights past the Chase Heat by a score of 5-2 Friday night.
Michael Malinowski stopped 36 of 38 shots faced and was named the first star in the Knights’ second victory over the Heat in a week.
The Knights got first-period offence from Carter Will, who scored his 13th goal of the season 12:40 into the frame.
A quick goal to start the second period from Tate O’Brien made it 2-0 Knights. Midway through the period, Nolan Kelly scored two goals 32 seconds apart, one at even strength and another on a power play, to give the Knights a commanding 4-0 lead.
Brodie Gohmann got the Heat on the board with his seventh of the season a couple minutes later, making it 4-1 after two.
Carter Welke added a bit of pressure on the Knights’ bench with a goal just past the 14-minute mark of the third to make it a two-goal game, but the Knights killed off the remaining six minutes, and Richard Burden added an empty net goal with seven seconds left on the clock for good measure.
The Knights, who have clinched a playoff spot, are second in the KIJHL’s Bill Ohlhausen division with their task being to fend off the Kelowna Chiefs — who are four points back — down the stretch.
The Heat are fourth in the Doug Birks division with 25 points in 41 games, well behind the trio of dominant teams atop the division.
The Knights are in action tonight (Feb. 10) against the Osoyoos Coyotes at 7 p.m. at the Sun Bowl Arena. The Heat also play tonight at 7, against the Grizzlies in Revelstoke.