Posted on 01 March 2013 by Keith Lacey
Even though they entered their first-round Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) series against the Princeton Posse as slight underdogs, the Osoyoos Coyotes left no doubt they were the better team as they walked into Princeton Thursday night and walked away with a 6-3 victory to end the best-of-seven first-round playoff series in five games,
The Coyotes will now play the winner of the series between the Kelowna Chiefs and Summerland Steam in the second round of the playoffs. The Chiefs, who finished in first place in the Okanagan Shuswap division during the regular season, lead the series 3-2 with game six set for Saturday night in Summerland. If a seventh-and-deciding game is needed, it would be played Sunday in Kelowna.
After a thrilling 4-3 overtime win on home ice Tuesday night, which gave the Coyotes a 3-1 series lead, the Coyotes visited Princeton knowing they could end the series with one more strong performance.
After Princeton opened the scoring in the third minute of the game, with a goal by Kyle Raymond on the power-play, the Coyotes responded just over a minute later with a power-play goal of their own by Beau Browning to tie the contest. Evan Last assisted.
Princeton restored their lead three minutes later on another power-play marker, this time from Lane Erickson.
Just over two minutes later, the Coyotes once again tied it up, this time on a shorthanded effort by Colin Chmelka. Andrew Stack and Browning had assists.
The Coyotes took their first lead of the contest late in the first period on another power-play marker from Brandon Watson. Rory Neary had the only assist.
There was no scoring in the second period as the Coyotes held on to their 3-2 lead through 40 minutes.
Princeton tied the game only 17 seconds into the third period with an unassisted goal by Kurtis Bond.
Troy Maclise scored what turned out to be the game and series winner four minutes later with an assist from Chmelka.
With their season on the line, Princeton pressed hard to tie the contest, but Coyotes netminder Jessie Gordichuk was very solid and the Coyotes played solid team defence and wrapped things up with an empty net goal by Maclise with just under two minutes remaining.
Chmelka scored another empty-net marker six seconds later to give the Coyotes the 6-3 victory and series win.
The second-round series against Kelowna or Summerland is expected to start early next week. If Summerland were to upset the Chiefs, the series would open in Osoyoos. If the Chiefs hang on and win the series, the second-round series against the Coyotes would likely begin in Kelowna next Tuesday or Wednesday evening.
Read full details about the series victory over Princeton and second-round series in next Wednesday’s issue of the Osoyoos Times. We will also update our website once details about the second-round series are revealed.