If there’s any moment in an Osoyoos Coyotes hockey game that sets the club’s fans to cringe, it’s those final dying seconds.
Tuesday night in Kelowna, the Yotes found a way with the clock ticking down to keep the puck out of Daniel Paul’s crease: put it in the other guy’s net.
The Coyotes are into the KIJHL’s Okanagan/Shuswap Conference championship, dropping the Kelowna Chiefs 3-1 and taking the Okanagan division title four games to two.
And they can thank, in part, an opportunistic Cody Allen, who scooped up an errant pass as time was expiring and put it in a goal vacated by the Chiefs’ Joseph Mcleod a minute earlier.
The Yotes are now waiting for a winner from the Doug Birks division to determine when and where they’ll open play in the next round of the playoffs.
Tuesday in Kelowna, Colin Bell provided the lone score over the first two periods and change of tight-checking hockey, beating Chiefs netminder Joseph Mcleod on the powerplay five minutes into the game.
That lead would hold up until six minutes into the third when Brett Witala found himself with an empty net after a nifty pass from Aiden Bar-Lev-Wise and finally solved the Coyote’s Daniel Paul.
Paul, who otherwise stopped 28 of 29 shots to lead the Yotes, earned a game star for his play.
Jackson Barrett quickly silenced a suddenly charged Kelowna audience, ripping a shot from the high slot about two minutes later.
The Yotes weathered the storm from there until Allen’s empty-netter.
The win gives the Coyotes a little rest after playing six games in eight nights to vanquish the Chiefs. They’ll be watching a Game Seven between the Wranglers and Grizzlies in Revelstoke tonight after 100 Mile House evened that best-of-seven with a 3-2 overtime win last night.
A Wranglers win would give the Coyotes home ice-advantage — and the first two games at home — through the conference championship. A win by the Grizzlies, however, would see the series open in Revelstoke.
The Okanagan/Shuswap Conference winner will meet the Kootenay Conference champion — contested by the Kimberley Dynamiters and Nelson Leafs — for the KIJHL title.