Coyotes squeak out overtime win over Wranglers after previous night’s loss to Heat
The Osoyoos Coyotes faced two tough road games on the weekend, losing 6-3 to Chase on Friday and salvaging a 6-5 overtime win over 100 Mile House on Saturday.
The two weekend hockey games following a resounding 7-0 shutout pounding that the Coyotes delivered to the North Okanagan Knights last Wednesday on home ice.
Last Wednesday’s win was the second shutout in a row for rookie Coyote goaltender Liam Aitken, giving him a total of five shutouts in just 10 games.
Since then, Aitken played half of Friday’s game, relieving regular goalie Adam Jones after he let in four goals, and Aitken played the entire game Saturday.
The two recent victories leave the Coyotes at the top of the Okanagan Division, seven points ahead of the second-place Summerland Steam.
In the entire Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, the Coyotes narrowly trail the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, but the Coyotes have two games in hand.
In Saturday’s game against the 100 Mile House Wranglers, the Coyotes dominated until the final five minutes of the third period. At that point, they led 5-2.
But it was as though they prematurely celebrated victory and had packed up and gone home.
In less than three minutes, the Wranglers scored three quick goals and with just 42 seconds remaining in the third period, they tied the game.
Three and a half minutes into overtime, Austin Steger scored the Coyotes’ game winner, assisted by Judd Repole and Bryson Cecconi.
Steger also assisted on two earlier power play goals for the Coyotes, one by Colin Bell in the second period, and one by Daniel Stone in the third.
Austin Cleaver also had a good night, scoring an unassisted goal in the second period and another goal in the third, assisted by Reid Wilson.
The other Coyote goal was scored by Connor Onstein in the second period, assisted by Bell.
In Friday night’s game, the Chase Heat dominated play in the first period, outshooting the Coyotes 13-3 and outscoring them 2-0.
Chase was leading 3-0 before Steger put the Coyotes on the scoreboard early in the second period. Repole and Bell got the assists.
After another two Chase goals in the second and third periods, the Heat was leading the Coyotes 5-1.
Aitken only allowed in one goal after he replaced the struggling Jones, but by then it was too late.
The Coyotes pulled up their socks and outshot the Heat 15-8 in the third period, and they managed two goals, one by Cleaver unassisted and one by Ryan Roseboom, assisted by Bell and Steger.
With the score now 5-3 for Chase, the Coyotes pulled Aitken for an extra attacker in the last few minutes.
The move backfired when Josh Bourne of the Heat scored an unassisted goal on the empty net, giving Chase a 6-3 win.
In last Wednesday’s game against the North Okanagan Knights at the Sun Bowl Arena, the Knights were hopelessly outmatched, particularly when they faced the lethal Coyote power play.
For much of the game they had a hard time getting the puck out of their end, though they did manage to outshoot the Coyotes 11-9 in the final period.
Neither team scored until the second half of the first period when Bell scored on a power play, assisted by Repole and Steger.
In the final minute of the period, Roseboom scored and Repole got his second assist of the night.
Roseboom added another goal unassisted five minutes into the second period, putting the Coyotes ahead 3-0.
Less than a minute later, Onstein took a pass from Sam Reinbolt and fired it into the side of the net. Hunter Johnson also got an assist.
At this point, with the score 4-0 for the Coyotes, North Okanagan pulled their beleaguered goalie Daniel Paul and replaced him with backup goalie Conor Webb.
It didn’t help. Three minutes later Hunter Johnson skated down the ice with no Knights defenceman to stop him and put the puck past Webb. Wilson and Jackson Glimpel got the assists.
Late in the period, Jack Berger of the Knights knocked down Coyote Colton Rhodes in a nasty crosschecking incident and Rhodes had to be helped off the ice. Berger also got a game misconduct.
The Coyote power play carried over into the third period, and Glimpel capitalized on it. Wilson got the assist.
Nine minutes later, it was Wilson’s turn to score and Glimpel’s to assist. The 7-0 score held for the rest of the game.
The Coyotes next travel to Princeton this Wednesday, Jan. 11 to face the Posse. They return home Friday to face the Summerland Steam. Then Sunday afternoon, they’ll face the Posse again at the Oliver Arena.