By Richard McGuire
Special to the Chronicle
The Osoyoos Coyotes suffered their first loss of the playoffs Friday night at the hands of the Kelowna Chiefs in the third game of the Okanagan Division finals.
The 5-4 loss came in a closely fought game in which Osoyoos led by one goal from late in the second period until the middle of the third.
A disappointing third period, in which Kelowna scored the only two goals, sealed the Coyotes’ fate that night, but guaranteed that the teams will return to the Sun Bowl Arena for at least one more game.
Austin Cleaver had a strong game for the Coyotes scoring two goals late in the second period to tie the score for the Coyotes and take the lead. He also assisted on the first Coyote goal, which was scored by Colin Bell on a power play early in the second period.
Devin Sutton of Kelowna opened the scoring with the only goal in the first period.
Bell tied the score, with Carter Shannon and Cleaver assisting.
Minutes later, Zach Erhard took the lead again for Kelowna on a power play. Half a minute later, Kelowna’s towering defenceman Mathew Alcorn added another goal giving the Chiefs a 3-1 lead.
Connor Onstein began the Coyote comeback less than a minute later with fellow Terrace Line teammates Hunter Johnson and Sam Reinbolt assisting.
Cleaver’s first goal came just over a minute later on a power play. Shannon and Judd Repole assisted.
Repole also assisted on Cleaver’s second goal.
With Erhardt adding a second goal and Brody Dale scoring for Kelowna with 1:17 remaining, Kelowna was now in the lead 5-4.
The Coyotes pulled goalie Daniel Paul for an extra attacker, but they couldn’t tie the score.
The two teams face each other again in Kelowna on Saturday. Then they get a day of rest on Sunday, before returning to the Sun Bowl on Monday.
If further games are needed, they’ll be back in Kelowna on Tuesday and back for a seventh game to Osoyoos on Wednesday.
In the other Okanagan/Shuswap series, 100 Mile House defeated Revelstoke 4-3 to give 100 Mile House a 2-1 lead.
In the Kootenay Conference, Kimberley won their third game 3-1 over Columbia Valley and are now just one game away from sweeping the series in four.
And Nelson defeated Castlegar by a resounding 8-4. They also have won all three games in their series.