If the Osoyoos Coyotes are looking for a good time to once again get back to winning hockey games, it’s probably right about now.
The Coyotes, after a meltdown of a weekend in Revelstoke and Chase, travel to North Okanagan this evening and a date with the lowly division rival Knights.
The game is the start of a six-game stretch that will go a long way to determining where the club finishes in the Okanagan division standings.
Friday, the Yotes host Princeton, North Okanagan is back in town (actually Oliver) Sunday and Kamloops is here Jan. 19.
The Coyotes wrap up the month in Summerland before coming home to host the Kelowna Chiefs.
“We have to win these games against division rivals,” said head coach Mark Chase. “If we don’t win these games, we’re going to be bumped out of our position — especially against Princeton.
“It’s a must-win.”
The Coyotes (12-19-2-1) hold down third place in the Okanagan division, two points ahead of Hwy. 3 rival Princeton and seven ahead of North Okanagan.
More importantly, chasing down Summerland for second place — and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs — is looking to be more and more of a lost cause.
The Steam is 13 points up on the Yotes.
The Coyotes didn’t help themselves over the weekend, falling 7-4 to Revelstoke Friday night and 7-5 to Chase Saturday evening.
The Yotes surrendered leads in both games — they were up 3-2 against Revelstoke and 4-2 against Chase — to come home dealing with a six-game losing streak rather than putting that bugaboo behind them.
“I don’t know what it is, but it seems to be our nemesis at this point is the second period,” said Chase. “Our second periods are full of goals against and penalties.”
After Friday evening’s loss in Revelstoke — which included six powerplay goals against — the response in Chase was to scratch the four players who account for more than 50 percent of the Coyotes’ penalty minutes.
“We definitely reduced how much we were in the penalty box — so that was a win,” said Chase. “(But) every time the puck was shot with some sort of authority (in the third), it went in.
“We looked sluggish the entire second and third period.”
Game time at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Arena this evening is 7:30 p.m.