The New Year brings a smorgasbord of opportunity for the Osoyoos Coyotes — the appetizer of a 16-game run to the playoffs served up this evening at Sun Bowl Arena.
And head coach Ken Law — ever the master strategist — wants to add even more to that opportunity.
The Coyotes — tops in the Okanagan Division with a 22-8-1 record — host the Princeton Posse, a team the Yotes will play three times over the next 45 days.
Law and his coaches are busy scouring the league for a little added punch this week, with the league’s trade deadline nearing.
“Right now with the trade deadline coming up on the 10th we still got a couple of cards we can use and we’re down a couple of players,” he said. “So we’ll be looking to secure another (defenceman) and maybe a forward.”
The club is already quite solid with the mid-season return of both Colin Bell and Cody Allen and a rapidly maturing cast of characters led by captain and leading scorer Judd Repole.
The Coyotes have taken a different route to the top this season, finding their collective feet through much of September and October before finally snatching top spot in their division in late-December.
Going forward, there are numerous story lines for the Coyotes as they begin January play:
- The club has nine home games remaining — two each against North Okanagan, Kelowna and Princeton and one each against Summerland, Chase and Sicamous.
- The Coyotes are on the road for seven contests, playing twice more in both North Okanagan and Summerland and also visiting Princeton and Revelstoke.
- Five of the Coyotes’ remaining games are against teams in last-place in their respective divisions. On paper, that should mean an easy 10 points for the Coyotes.
- The Coyotes, however, will have their hands full with a January match against Chase and a mid-February game against the Doug Birks division-leading Grizzlies in Revelstoke. Expect those two games to be potential Okanagan/Shuswap Conference previews.
Summerland, currently three points behind the Coyotes in the Okanagan division, has a decidedly more difficult schedule over its remaining 16 games. It plays 10 of those contests — Kelowna (3), 100 Mile House (2), North Okanagan (2), Princeton, Osoyoos and Revelstoke — on the road; the Steam are home for six games — Osoyoos (2), Princeton (2), Chase and Kelowna.
Only two of the Steam’s final 16 games are against clubs with losing records — those two being road games in Armstrong against the Knights.
For the Coyotes, game time tonight at the Sun Bowl is 7:35 p.m. Princeton is back in the South Okanagan January 12 a Sun Bowl rematch.
The Coyotes are on a modest three-game winning streak, having knocked off Summerland 3-2 and North Okanagan 3-0 to end 2017.
Coyote Notes: Winger Brandon Onstein, who has four goals and nine points in 29 games, is the lone Coyote representative on the Okanagan-Shuswap squad at the KIJHL’s Top Prospects game in Kelowna Jan. 13.
Repole, who had four goals and eight assists in seven games4G, 8A, 2PPG, in 7 games, and goaltender Liam Aitken (six wins, a 1.99 GAA and .923 SV%) were honorable mentions in league balloting for Player of the Month honours.