Eric Scherger has become a nightmare for the North Okanagan Knights.
The Summerland Steam goalie stopped 40 of 41 shots Saturday as the Steam ventured to Armstrong and came away with a 3-1 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League win over the Knights at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Scherger has stopped 61 of 63 Knights shots in the last two games between the Bill Ohlhausen Division rivals. The win Saturday gives the Steam a five-point lead over North Okanagan in the battle for second place in the division. Kelowna Chiefs (11-1-0-0) lead the division with 22 points.
After a scoreless opening period, the Steam opened the scoring on a powerplay goal from Morey Babakaiff at 2:13, and Ethan Grover extended the lead to 2-0 with 6:12 left in the second period.
Tyler Jamieson cut the margin in half with a powerplay goal with 3:27 left in regulation time, but Babakaiff scored into an empty net with 1:40 remaining t0 give Summerland the win.
Caedon Bellmann made 18 saves in taking the loss for the Knights, who, 24 hours earlier, needed double overtime to subdue the winless Osoyoos Coyotes 3-2 at Nor-Val.
Kevin-Thomas Walters was the hero in the three-on-three double OT session, walking in on ‘Yotes goalie Curt Doyle and burying a shot behind him at 2:51.
Cameron McKenzie gave North Okanagan (5-9-0-1) the lead at 2:18 of the second period, and it stayed 1-0 Knights until Brendan Mosely tied the game at 4:01 of the final period. Tyler Cheetham gave the Knights the lead again at 11:55, only to see Blake Astorino force overtime with a goal at 19:37.
Sean Kanervsito made 39 saves for the Knights while Doyle finished with a 50-stop effort for the Coyotes.
North Okanagan visits the fourth-place Princeton Posse, who are only one point behind the Knights in the division, Friday, and travel to Osoyoos for a rematch with the Coyotes Saturday.
LEAGUE DENIES KNIGHTS APPEAL
The Knights were unsuccessful in their appeal to have four forfeited wins reversed by the league.
The Knights had four wins removed from the standings due to icing an ineligible player in six games from September to October. The Knights did not provide evidence to the five-person appeal board, made up of governors from the Eddie Mountain Division, that the player was ever carded and therefore wasn’t registered with Hockey Canada or the league.
“This is a very serious oversight by the team,” KIJHL commissioner Larry Martel said. “The appeal board felt the forfeit needs to stand as per Hockey Canada rules.”
North Okanagan began the week in second place in the Bill Ohlhausen Division with a record of 8-4-0-1 for 17 points. After the ruling and the unsuccessful appeal, the Knights were in third place at 4-8-0-1.