By Richard McGuire
Special to the Chronicle
The Osoyoos Coyotes pulled off a 4-3 win over Kelowna Monday night before a home crowd to take a 3-2 lead in the Okanagan Division finals.
Monday’s win followed two disappointing games in Kelowna on Friday and Saturday that the Coyotes lost 5-4 and 6-2 respectively.
Monday’s game looked for a while like it might go the same way when the Kelowna Chiefs scored two goals in the second half of the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
But just 21 seconds after Kelowna’s Brett Witala scored on a power play, Hunter Johnson fired a shot past goalie Joseph McLeod to put the Coyotes back in the game. Sam Reinbolt assisted.
There were some tense moments early in the second period. The Chiefs were playing shorthanded when Tyler Love broke loose and skated down to face Coyote goalie Daniel Paul alone. Love missed the net, but Paul took a tripping penalty in the incident.
Late in the second period Coyote Jack McNamara took a high sticking penalty. The Chiefs didn’t notice when McNamara skated out of the penalty box, took a pass and skated in on a breakaway to score. Austin Cleaver assisted.
But the energized Coyotes weren’t content with a tied game. Less than a minute later Connor Onstein added another goal to put the Coyotes ahead 3-2.
The Coyotes have a history of letting in goals fractions of a second before the buzzer and this game was no exception. With just 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock at the end of the second period, Myles Mattila scored his second goal of the game for Kelowna to tie the game again.
The two teams remained tied for most of a tense third period, the only one where the Chiefs outshot the Coyotes.
Then, with 2:40 remaining in the period, Onstein scored his second goal of the game to give the Coyotes a 4-3 lead. Reinbolt and McNamara assisted.
As the clock ran down, the Chiefs pulled goalie McLeod for an extra attacker. Then, with just 16 seconds left in the third period, Barrett took a slashing penalty.
The Coyotes endured, however, taking the game.
So far neither team has managed to win on the road in this series, but if the Coyotes win Tuesday in Kelowna, they can end the series early.
If they lose, the two teams will be back in Osoyoos Wednesday for a seventh and deciding game.
In the other Okanagan/Shuswap series, Revelstoke beat 100 Mile House 5-4 Monday to take a 3-2 lead in that series. The winner of that series will play the winner of the Osoyoos-Kelowna series.
In the Kootenay Conference, Kimberley eliminated Columbia Valley with a 5-2 win and Nelson also eliminated Castlegar with a 5-2 win.