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Coyotes defeat archrival Chiefs in 5-4 overtime thriller before losing to Knights
After beating their nemesis, the Kelowna Chiefs, 5-4 in a second overtime period Friday on home ice, the Osoyoos Coyotes fell to the North Okanagan Knights by the same score Sunday on the road in Armstrong.
Friday’s victory was only the second time in two regular seasons that the Coyotes have beaten the Chiefs at the Sun Bowl, even though they’ve performed much better in Kelowna.
The Coyotes, however, did knock last year’s division champions out of the playoffs during the second round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League post-season last year.
The weekend games leave the Coyotes in second place well behind the division-leading Chiefs and only a single point ahead of the Knights.
In both games, the line of Colin Chmelka, Aaron Azevedo and Troy Maclise performed exceptionally well with Chmelka picking up six points, Azevedo four and Maclise three.
Rory Neary and Jackson DeMatos also turned in solid performances, although it was Luc Gradisar who scored the game winner in overtime Friday.
Osoyoos took an early 2-0 lead in Friday’s game with Neary getting the first goal and Maclise then picking one up on a power play.
The Chiefs made it 2-1 late in the first period.
In the second period, the Chiefs dominated play, picking up two goals while keeping the Coyotes scoreless.
A goal by Ryan Balm of the Chiefs on a power play a fraction of a second before the buzzer sounded was especially disappointing for Coyote fans.
The period ended with the Chiefs up 3-2.
The third period started badly for the Coyotes when Brady Mende scored for the Chiefs to make it 4-2.
A minute later, Azevedo slipped the puck under the legs of Kelowna goalie Tyler O’Donnell and Osoyoos was back in the game.
That goal was assisted by Chmelka and newcomer Jamie Gallo, playing his first game for the Coyotes.
With less than two minutes to go, Chmelka tied the game on a goal assisted by Wyatt Trumbley and regulation time ended in a 4-4 tie.
Despite some strong hockey in the first five-minute overtime period, the two teams remained tied when the buzzer sounded.
A second overtime period was held with both teams playing with only three forwards and a goalie.
Finally, Azevedo deked out O’Donnell and Gradisar knocked the puck into the net to give the Coyotes a thrilling 5-4 victory.
In the Sunday afternoon game in Armstrong, Neary once again opened the scoring, but the Knights came back with two goals to end the first period with a 2-1 lead.
A power play goal by Chmelka midway through the second period tied the score, but two minutes later the Knights scored a power-play goal of their own.
A goal by Azevedo left the two teams in a 3-3 tie at the end of the second period.
North Okanagan again took the lead late in the third period, but less than 30 seconds later, DeMatos again tied it for the Coyotes.
Finally, with the Coyotes a man short, Morgan Johnston scored for the Knights with 2:32 remaining in the game to make it 5-4.
The Coyotes host the Grand Forks Border Bruins at the Sun Bowl Wednesday night before going on the road Saturday and Sunday to face the Revelstoke Grizzlies and Chase Heat, respectively.