Josh Hager had visions of hockey pucks dancing in his head on the bus ride home.
The North Okanagan Knights’ goalie made a staggering 60 saves – including 31 in the second period, according to the game sheet – as the Knights defeated the hometown 100 Mile House Wranglers 4-1 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Saturday, Dec. 10, at the South Cariboo Rec Centre.
The only goal that eluded Hager, from Calgary, was a third-period powerplay goal from the Wranglers’ Memfis Burgeson at 8:38. Hager and Burgeson were selected their team’s respective Players of the Game.
Grayson Williamson, with his first of the year, Cash Anderson and Zack Brandson staked the Knights to a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes. Ethan O’Rourke closed out the scoring at 14:20 of the final period.
Ryder Gregga made 28 saves in goal for 100 Mile House.
With the win, the Knights (14-11-1-0) sit in third place in the Bill Ohlhausen Division, two points behind the Osoyoos Coyotes and four points up on the fourth-place Summerland Steam.
The Steam fell 3-1 to the Coyotes Saturday in Osoyoos.
The Wranglers (7-19-0-1) had a chance to leap-frog over the fourth-place Chase Heat (7-16-0-2) in the Doug Birks Division with a win, but remain one point behind.
The Heat fell 7-2 at home to the second-place Sicamous Eagles.
The Wranglers will close out the first half of the season with a doubleheader at home, including a matchup against Chase Friday, Dec. 16. The Kelowna Chiefs visit 100 Mile House Saturday, Dec. 17. Both games start at 7 p.m.
North Okanagan also wraps up the first half with a home twinbill against the top two teams in their division. The Knights entertain the Coyotes Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., and host the division-leading Princeton Posse Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7:15 p.m. Both games are at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre.
The game against Princeton is the Knights’ annual Teddy Bear Toss game. Fans are asked to bring a stuffed animal to be distributed among local organizations and families, and throw them onto the ice after the first North Okanagan goal of the game.
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