Last year, the KIJHL’s conference championships were best-of-five affairs.
This year, after four games settled nothing, they’re both best-of-threes.
The Osoyoos Coyotes scored a 2-1 win at home Wednesday evening to even their Okanagan/Shuswap Conference championship tilt with the Revelstoke Grizzlies at two-games-a-piece.
In the Kootenay Conference, Nelson Leafs and Kimberley Dynamiters are also knotted at two-a-piece and will start their mini three-game set this evening in Kimberley.
Wednesday, the opposing goaltenders — the Coyotes’ Daniel Paul and Grizzlies’ Giovanni Sambrielaz — were game stars, collectively stopping 69 of 72 shots. Paul was especially brilliant in the third period, stopping all 12 shots he faced to secure the win.
At the other end of the ice, Austin Cleaver’s fifth goal of the post-season 1:10 into the second period was the game-winner.
Carter Robinson, on the powerplay, added the first Coyote tally late in the first.
Yet again, the Grizzlies drew first blood, Cole Gordon scoring less than five minutes into the opening frame to give the visitors an early lead.
It was the third one-goal win in the series — the fourth in four starts if you’re not counting empty-netters.
The game was a tame affair, with just 20 minutes in penalties issued for minor infractions. That’s a far cry from Tuesday’s contest where 14 players were tossed for misconduct.
Game Five (One) in the series is scheduled for Friday evening in Revelstoke. The clubs will be back in Osoyoos Saturday evening and return to Revelstoke Sunday if necessary.