Yotes get first nip with double-OT conference opener

If you’re looking for the KIJHL’s goofy place, it exists somewhere within the Okanagan/Shuswap conference championships.

After an unmentionable experience in Chase last season, the Osoyoos Coyotes were back there Saturday evening; this time, though, they found a more positive way out.

The Yotes scored a 4-3 double-overtime win over the host Revelstoke Grizzlies in Game One of the conference championship, the 80-minute ordeal extended an additional 40 minutes when the arena’s ice-cleaning machine found itself stranded by a stray frisbee left on the ice after a second-intermission promotion.

The Coyotes made the best of the delay, turning a 3-2 Grizzly lead that was more lopsided than it sounds into a lone third-period goal to tie the contest before winning it in overtime.

Through two periods, the Grizz outshot the Coyotes 25-13; after the lengthy break, the rejuvenated Coyotes replied with 29 shots — including 19 in overtime — against Revelstoke’s 27.

Revelstoke opened the scoring 5:40 into the game, the Grizz surviving some early Coyote pressure before Jordan Robertson tipped in a shot from the point.

The Yotes would answer just under two minutes later, Jackson Barrett scoring on the powerplay, before Nii Noi Tetteh finished a game of tic-tac-toe with a nifty backhand shot over Daniel Paul’s left shoulder with 8:30 remaining in the first.

Revelstoke would extend its lead to 3-1 eight minutes into the second when Cody Flynn skated in unmolested from just outside the blueline.

Colin Bell replied with his fourth goal of the playoffs on a similar effort four minutes later, scoring on a weak shot from deep in the zone at the trail end of a Coyote powerplay.

That brought the frisbee toss and the extended delay. By the time a stray frisbee was removed from the ice cleaner, the 20-minute intermission was 58 minutes and change.

As one Osoyoos fan noted on Twitter, “This would never happen with ducks,” a reference to a similar promotion held during Coyote games at the Sun Bowl.

Sam Reinbolt’s goal at 17:59 of the third would bring the Coyotes even at 3-3. The Grizz would have a goal disallowed but otherwise it was an uneventful 18 minutes and the game would go to overtime.

It would be the seventh overtime in 14 games for the Grizzlies; they had won five of the previous six. Osoyoos came into the extra frame with a 1-1 overtime record.

After an initial 10-minute extra frame couldn’t settle it, the ice cleaner was back for another rink wash.

It would take another 10 minutes before Connor Onstein —  on a wrap-around from behind the net — scored his sixth goal of the playoffs to win the marathon for the Yotes.

The Yotes were two-for-three on the powerplay; the Grizzlies zero-for-four. Between the pipes, a busy Daniel Paul stopped 49 of 52 shots.

Game Two in the series goes this evening in Revelstoke. Games Three and Four are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Osoyoos.

In the other KIJHL semi-final Saturday, Nelson Leafs scored a 5-2 win over the host Kimbereley Dynamiters. That series is tied at a game-a-piece.

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