Coyotes eliminate Kelowna in 3-1 road game, advance to conference final

Coyotes eliminate Kelowna in 3-1 road game, advance to conference final
Coyotes eliminate Kelowna in 3-1 road game, advance to conference final
The Osoyoos Coyotes lived up to their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular-season ranking and ended the underdog Kelowna Chiefs’ season tonight at the Rutland Arena.

A 3-1 win over the hosts clinched the Okanagan Division best-of-seven final series (4-2) and earned the first-place Coyotes a berth in the KIJHL’s Okanagan/Shuswap Conference championship series against the either the Revelstoke Grizzlies or the 100-Mile House Wranglers.

Jackson Barrett’s goal at 7:21 of the third period stood up as the winning goal in the hard-hitting game that saw Osoyoos score the only goal of the first period on a powerplay (Colin Bell) and the Chiefs tie it up on Brett Witala’s marker at 5:57 of the third.

Cody Allen’s empty-net goal with two seconds left rounded out the scoring

The Coyotes put themselves in the position to win the series by edging the Chiefs 4-3 in Osoyoos on Monday. They had opened the series against second-place Kelowna with a pair of wins (6-1 and 3-2 in overtime) on home ice while the Chiefs came back with their only two wins (5-4 and 6-2) at the Rutland Arena.

Osoyoos, nine points ahead of the Chiefs in the regular-season standings, came into the series much fresher than their final-series opponents. The Coyotes disposed of the Okanagan Division’s fourth-place Princeton Posse in four straight semifinal games while Kelowna had to go the full seven against the third-place Summerland Steam.

The Chiefs did show promise going into the post-season, having put together a 12-4 record in the new year and they overtook Summerland for second place after trailing the Steam by 11 points at the start of 2018.

Kelowna outscored the Steam 29-8 in their final three regular-season games against each other.

The Okanagan/Shuswap Conference winner will meet the Kootenay Conference champion for the KIJHL title. The Kimberley Dynamiters and Nelson Leafs will play in that best-of-seven conference final.

The KIJHL champion will advance to the Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament in Richmond April 12-15 to decide the B.C. junior B champion.

Colin Bell (centre), pictured here in a recent home game against Kelowna, scored the opening goal in the Coyotes’ 3-1 victory Tuesday night. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Osoyoos Coyotes eliminated the Kelowna Chiefs Tuesday night in the sixth game of their Okanagan Division final in Kelowna.

The final score was 3-1, but an empty-net goal by Cody Allen with two seconds remaining was cake icing for the Coyotes in an otherwise tight game and hard-fought series.

The game was the first in this series that a team has won in the other teams arena. The Coyotes won the first two games of the series at the Sun Bowl Arena, but then lost the next two played in Kelowna.

A nail-biter 4-3 victory Monday night by the Coyotes again on home ice set the stage for Tuesdays series-winning game.

The Coyotes next go on to play the winner of the other Okanagan/Shuswap series between Revelstoke and 100 Mile House.

With Revelstoke leading that series 3-2 games heading into Tuesday, the two teams were locked at 2-2 in a second period of overtime when the Coyotes declared victory Tuesday night. That game ended after 100 Mile House scored in the third period of overtime, tying the series 3-3.

In the Kelowna game, Colin Bell opened the scoring five minutes in on a power-play goal, assisted by Connor Onstein.

The second period remained scoreless while the Chiefs outshot the Coyotes 11-8.

Nearly six minutes into the third period, Kelownas Brett Witala tied the score.

Jackson Barrett put the Coyotes ahead again a minute and a half later, with Onstein getting his second assist of the night.

As the clock wound down towards the final minute in the period, Kelowna pulled goalie Joseph McLeod for an extra attacker and the Chiefs kept up the pressure.

Then, with just two seconds remaining, Allen fired the puck down the ice into the empty net to score unassisted.

The Revelstoke-100 Mile House series continues Wednesday night with a seventh and deciding game in Revelstoke.

If 100 Mile House wins the series, Osoyoos would host the first two games, but the ice wouldnt be available this weekend because of Atom Fiesta.

If Revelstoke wins, they could host the first two games Friday and Saturday, with the series returning to Osoyoos next Monday and Tuesday for games three and four, said Randy Bedard, Coyotes owner.

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