They may be young, still learning the ropes and frankly struggling as they come out of the gate, but — to mix metaphors even more — the learning curve for this year’s batch of Osoyoos Coyotes is steep.
As in scheduling nightmare steep.
The Coyotes (1-9-1) have played teams that have combined for 61 wins and just 36 losses — the lion’s share of those losses (27) belonging to four teams with which the Coyotes have found they can compete.
Add to the mix this week’s contests against Kelowna and Columbia Valley and the Yotes over their first 13 games will have played the leaders in each of the KIJHL’s four divisions as least once.
Those four clubs have a combined 42-3-1-1 record. Just two of the nine teams the Coyotes have played thus far have losing records.
Just how steep that curve has become was evidenced again Tuesday evening, the Yotes falling 9-0 to the Chiefs (13-0-0-1) in Kelowna.
The game was as ugly as its score indicates. In the first 20 minutes of the contest, the Coyotes were outshot 31-5 and spent the majority of the period bottled up in their own end.
Kelowna peppered goaltenders Daniel Paul — who lasted just 13 minutes — and Bailey Monteith with a combined 63 shots.
At the other end of the ice, the Coyotes managed just 18 shots.
“I know that we’ve played a number of high-calibre teams in the league but that doesn’t give us any sort of excuse,” said Coyotes head coach Mark Chase. “We still need to compete. We still need to work hard every single day. We still need to execute as best as we can with as little defect as possible.”
If you’re wondering if it gets any easier for the Coyotes in the coming weeks, it does.
Over the last half of October, they play at Sicamous (3-7-2-1) and Spokane (5-4-0-2) before wrapping up the month with a home-and-home against Princeton (6-4). The Coyotes open November with a visit to North Okanagan (2-7-0-1) before entertaining the Creston Valley Thunder Cats (4-7-0-1).
Combined, those five clubs are 20-31-2-5.
The Coyotes are in Sicamous Friday evening, then return home Saturday for yet another game against a division-leader, the Columbia Valley Rockies.
Game time for that contest is 7:35 p.m.