Coach Mark Chase called it “stale.” The box score calls it four goals.
Except for 12 minutes largely at the start of the second period, the Osoyoos Coyotes held their own against the visiting Kelowna Chiefs Wednesday evening.
The Yotes fell 5-2, but can extract a measure of success from a first period that was a saw-off and a third period where they arguably were the better team.
“We came out in the second and it was very stale,” said Chase, who sat across the Sun Bowl ice surface away from his team as he wrapped up a three-game suspension. “We weren’t moving our feet. We weren’t thinking quick enough, weren’t being proactive.”
The result was a four-goal outburst for the Chiefs that started with just 26 seconds remaining in the first frame and ended midway through the second.
“Once you get wounded by this team, then it’s really hard to recover,” Chase noted.
If dealing with the league’s top snipers wasn’t enough — scoring leaders Brody Dale and Zach Erhardt did all the damage — the Yotes added to the big hole with their relentless procession to the penalty box.
The Coyotes were whistled for 15 minor penalties and seven misconducts and finished the night with 112 penalty minutes — the equivalent almost of two full contests.
The Chiefs made good on three of 10 powerplays. The Coyotes got eight, the Chiefs whistled for 58 penalty minutes of their own.
Despite all that, the Coyotes made a game of it in the third with Brock Marple scoring on the powerplay eight minutes in and Daelen Der adding a second Osoyoos goal less than a minute later to draw the Yotes to within two.
But Dale’s third goal — on yet another powerplay with three minutes remaining — settled matters.
“I thought we had a strong push in the third and it was great to see a guy like Daelen Der score,” said Chase. “We finally capitalized on our powerplay.”
The Coyotes outscored the Chiefs 2-1 over the final 20 minutes and also got the lion’s share of shots, putting 13 on Kelowna goalie Braeden Mitchell and allowing just 11 on Bailey Monteith, who was between the pipes as Daniel Paul sat out the first of his own two-game suspension.
The Coyotes owe Monteith for keeping them in this game. The rookie netminder stopped 35 of 40 shots and was a constant stonewall as the high-octane Kelowna offence maintained its assault.
“He was phenomenal,” said Chase of his young goaltender. “He’s proven every single time he’s got the call to go that he’s more than capable. He could easily be a starter right now as a 16-year-old at this level.
“We’re very privileged to have the tandem that we do.”
Chase, speaking about his experience sitting across the ice surface away from his team said it was both frustrating and instructive.
“It’s pretty difficult to watch form that perspective, that vantage point, and to see plays develop and have an understanding of what’s happening and wanting to coach your players,” he said.
“But the game is also a little slower from the stands and I could see things a little clearer.
Chase will be back behind the bench Friday and Saturday when the Coyotes hit the road for games in Revelstoke and Chase.
Osoyoos also has a Tuesday game in Armstrong against the North Okanagan Knights before returning home Friday evening to host the Princeton Posse.