Posted on 26 September 2012 by Keith Lacey
The dream of a perfect season ended Saturday night for the Osoyoos Coyotes, but head coach and general manager Ken Law isn’t too worried.
After soundly defeating the visiting Penticton Lakers 4-1 Friday night on home ice at the Sun Bowl Arena to give them three-consecutive victories, the Coyotes were brought down to Earth by dropping a 3-2 decision to the Summerland Steam Saturday evening.
“We knew we weren’t going to win them all,” said Law, talking about the strong start by his club in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) regular season. “We’ve got off to a really good start and we’re still in a learning curve with so many new players, so we had to expect a couple of upsets along the way.
The Coyotes got back on the winning track Tuesday night, staging a third-period comeback to tie the game and then scoring the winner in overtime to defeat Summerland 4-3.
“It wasn’t a case of not letting up against Summerland and letting them beat us, but we sort of beat ourselves. We also had a short lineup and had to bring in a couple of affiliate players to fill out the lineup and that’s always difficult. They played well, but missing a few key guys certainly made a difference. Considering there are so many new players in the lineup and key veterans Brandon Watson (six-game suspension for fighting) and Derek Egli (injury) weren’t available, a weekend split is a pretty good result as is gaining six out of a possible eight points to start the season, said Law.
The lack of bodies saw veteran forward Robson Cramer have to drop back to play defence on Saturday night against Summerland, which took one of the team’s best offensive threats from his usual role, said Law.
After giving up an early goal against Penticton Friday night, the Coyotes played tight team defence and goaltender Wade Moyls was stellar as the hometown squad took over control the rest of the way.
Garrett Kucher scored a powerplay goal, with an assist from Evan Last, early in the second period to tie the game at 1-1, while Cramer scored the eventual game winner in the second period, with assists going to Last and Troy Maclise.
Maclise put the game away in the third period scoring a pair of goals – one early and one late – to give the hometown squad the victory. Cramer assisted on the first goal, while Brett Anderson chipped in on the final goal of the night.
Against Summerland, the visiting Steam scored the only goal of the first period.
Kucher tied things up with a powerplay marker halfway through the second period, but Summerland responded two minutes later to take a 2-1 lead. They extended the lead with another powerplay marker before the end of the period.
Rory Neary, who was called up by the Coyotes as an affiliate player, scored his first KIJHL goal early in the third period, with assists from Last and Maclise, to make things interesting. However, the Steam hung on for the 3-2 victory, handing the Coyotes their first loss of the young season.
Moyls has been terrific in all four games he has played in to start the season, but backup Bryson McKinnon needs some ice time and he was set to play Tuesday night in a rematch in Summerland, said Law.
“Wade has played great in every game so far and was largely responsible for our first three wins and wasn’t to fault at all in our first loss, so I’m very happy with our goaltending,” he said.
The club currently has 20 players signed and would like to sign two or three more before the final 23-man roster is set in the coming weeks, said Law.
“We will be scouring the late cuts from various Junior A and Junior B squads and seeing if there’s anybody out there who might be able to help us,” he said. “We played Saturday night with only four regular D-men, including a couple who are injured, so it would be nice to add a couple more guys who can step in when we’re shorthanded like we are right now.”
The Coyotes are on the road this weekend as they travel to Kamloops Saturday evening and then face Chase Sunday afternoon.
They play in Kelowna on Friday, Oct. 5 before returning home for their next game at the Sun Bowl Arena on Saturday, Oct. 6 against Columbia Valley.