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Osoyoos Coyotes extinguish Kelowna Chiefs in four games straight
With a 4-1 victory Saturday night over the Kelowna Chiefs, the Osoyoos Coyotes swept their first playoff round in four straight games.
Saturday’s win follows three decisive Coyote victories last week against the Chiefs, who went into free-fall late in the season after leading the Okanagan Division in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) through much of the regular season.
The Coyotes beat the Chiefs 5-0 in Kelowna on Tuesday, Feb. 25; 5-2 at the Sun Bowl on Wednesday, Feb. 26; and 4-1 in Kelowna on Friday, Feb. 28.
The Coyotes will face the winner of the series between the Summerland Steam and the North Okanagan Knights and that series is expected to begin on Thursday evening.
As of the Osoyoos Times’ press time, the Knights led that 3-2 with the Knights in the position to eliminate the heavily-favoured Steam Tuesday night in Armstrong.
If a seventh-and-deciding game was necessary, it was scheduled for Summerland Wednesday night.
In Saturday night’s game at the Sun Bowl, Kelowna took the lead midway through the first period on a power play goal just two seconds before Michael Crawford’s hooking penalty was finished.
The Chiefs actually dominated play in the first part of the second period, but the Coyotes finally got their break late in the period.
Colin Chmelka slammed the puck into the net at very close range to tie the game.
Less than two minutes later, Cameron Dobransky scored on a power play to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead before the second period ended.
The goal proved to be the game winner and series clincher.
The Coyotes kept Kelowna hemmed in during much of the third period and Jamie Gallo added an insurance goal for the Coyotes in the second half of the period.
Faced with elimination, the Chiefs became desperate.
When the Coyotes took a penalty with several minutes remaining in regulation time, Kelowna pulled goalie Tyler O’Donnell for six attackers against four.
Neither team managed to score.
They pulled O’Donnell again several minutes later, but the gamble backfired when Jackson DeMatos scored unassisted into the empty net with 2:49 remaining.
Like game four, the other games were also one-sided events with the Coyotes showing more staying power than the floundering Chiefs.
On Feb. 25, Chmelka scored the first two goals on power plays. Rory Neary, Colten Braid and Michael Crawford also added goals to make it 5-0.
The following night at the Sun Bowl, Osoyoos scored the first four goals in the first period, with Aaron Azevedo getting the first two. A power play goal in the third period gave Azevedo a hat trick.
Chmelka and Rory Neary scored the other goals.
Kelowna’s only two goals were scored late in the first period. Their second goal, on a power play, came in the final second of the period.
On Friday’s game in Kelowna, the Coyotes outshot the Chiefs 50-23. There was no scoring in the first period, but Kelowna got its first and only goal less than a minute into the second period on a power play.
Osoyoos goals by Brock Anderson, Rory Neary, Troy Maclise and Braid made it 4-1.
If the Knights upset Summerland, Osoyoos will have home-ice advantage and the series is expected to begin at the Sun Bowl Arena Thursday night.
If Summerland comes back to win the series, the Steam will host game one in the best-of-seven series.