The Kelowna Chiefs regained home-ice advantage in their best-of-seven Kootenay International Junior Hockey League divisional semifinal Monday night in Armstrong.
The Chiefs scored twice in the first period, and goalie Braeden Mitchell finished with 30 saves as the Chiefs beat the North Okanagan Knights 4-1 in front of 242 fans at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Game 4 goes Tuesday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Nor-Val. Game 5 will be played Thursday, March 5, at the Rutland Arena.
Leo Harju snapped a wrist shot past Knights goalie Sean Kanervisto to open the scoring 3:17 after the national anthem. The Chiefs made it 2-0 with a powerplay goal from Nathan Driver, who one-timed a cross-ice pass from Ryan Antonakis and beat Kanervisto, who had no chance on the shot. The goal also came with a delayed penalty coming to the Knights and an extra attacker on the ice.
Zane Avery upped the lead to 3-0 Kelowna at 15:21 of the middle frame.
Kyle Bax broke up Mitchell’s shutout bid with a goal at 17:58 for the Knights, assisted by Darius Makse and Tyler Olsen.
Driver finished the scoring with an empty-netter for the Chiefs at 19:58.
Kanervisto finished with 29 saves.
KNIGHT MOVES: Before Game 3, North Okanagan forward Tyler Cheetham was presented with the Bill Ohlhausen Division’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year Award by outgoing league president (and Armstrong native) Larry Martel.
Cheetham collected eight penalty minutes in 45 games in his rookie campaign while racking up 31 points.