Storm draw Knights in KIJHL post-season
The Kamloops Storm will be hard-pressed to escape the first round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs, but crazier things have happened.
Game 1 of the Doug Birks Division semifinal — a best-of-seven series between Kamloops and the North Okanagan Knights — will be played on Friday, Feb. 22, in Armstrong.
“You know how hockey goes, we’re always happy with whatever matchup we get,” Storm owner Barry Dewar said.
“We played them really good all year. We had three double-overtime games. They blew us away once, 9-5.”
Kamloops, which placed fourth in the division with 42 points, won only two of eight regular-season tilts against North Okanagan but, as Dewar said, most of the games were well contested, leaving some hope for Storm fans.
The Knights won the Birks division, finishing the campaign with 72 points.
Game 2 will be played in Armstrong on Saturday, Feb. 23, before the series comes to Kamloops for Game 3 on Monday, Feb. 25.
Puck-drop is set for 7 p.m. at McArthur Island Sports and Events Centre.
Those in attendance should be on the lookout for Knights’ forward Mat Lambert, who, with 20 goals and 53 points, is a good bet to win rookie of the year.
Hometown fans will be looking for big things from Connor Fortems.
“When he’s playing well, he’s probably the best player in the league,” Dewar said.
Fortems, a rookie, has been paired of late on a line with Ryan Keis and Zach Lidster.
Wade Moyls is Kamloops’ starting netminder.
He racked up 13 wins and 12 losses in 27 games played this season, posting a .921 save percentage along the way.
Game 4 will get underway at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at McArthur.
“We know each other very well,” Dewar said.
“I think we match up good.”