The Coyotes celebrate an opening goal just over a minute into Saturday evening’s contest. (Jen Jensen photo)
The up-down season that is this year’s version of the Osoyoos Coyotes is up again.
A solid weekend of hockey has the Yotes poised for a playoff run, the Coyotes knocking off Sicamous Eagles 4-1 Saturday evening at Sun Bowl Arena to move five points up on the North Okanagan Knights — the team they beat 5-2 in Armstrong to open the weekend.
The Coyotes are also a point ahead of Princeton Posse in the race for a coveted third-place finish in the Okanagan division and a opening-round series against the Summerland Steam.
The Coyotes and Posse each have five games remaining, the Knights four.
The pair of convincing wins follows several weeks of uninspired play, the Coyotes dropping four straight under the tutelage of new head coach Dean Maynard.
“We worked hard for the last two weeks at practice,” said Maynard of the team’s success. “We are out-shooting teams and playing amazing hockey right now.
“There’s lots of positive energy in the locker-room and on the bench.”
Coyotes 4, Eagles 1
The Yotes scored three times in the opening period (Brock Marple, Austin O’Neill and Blake Astorino) and added a fourth goal early in the second period to get a 4-0 jump on visiting Sicamous, which knocked off Summerland Friday evening and was riding a three-game winning streak when they came to town.
Daniel Paul stopped 36 of 37 shots in his second game back from suspension. The Yotes managed 38 shots and were one-for-five on the powerplay.
Coyotes 5, North Okanagan 2
The Coyotes pulled a thorn from their side with the convincing win in Armstrong Friday evening to open the weekend.
The Yotes had dropped three straight to the Knights and were looking at falling out of the playoff picture with a loss.
The Yotes again started strong, Brandon Della Paolera scoring twice and Badger and Astorino adding singles as the Coyotes finished the first 20 minutes with a 4-0 lead.
Austin O-Neill added a late-game goal.
Paul’s return from suspension was the big difference in this game. He stopped 39 of 41 shots.
The Coyotes will look to continue their success Wednesday when they host Summerland. Game time at Sun Bowl Arena is 7:35 p.m.