Cameron Welch scored twice as the Osoyoos Coyotes last night opened their 2017-18 KIJHL season with a 6-4 road win in Chase.
The win was a bit of revenge for the Coyotes, who lost to to the Heat in the Conference championship last season.
“We had to sit there and watch them raise their banners,” said head coach Ken Law. “That’s always a little motivation to come out with a win.
“There was a little bit of anxious energy and the guys wanted to get started.”
The Coyotes, sporting what is expected to be a potent offense, didn’t wait long to get on the scoreboard, Sam Reinbolt scoring at 1:12 into the contest.
Evan Della-Paolera added an unassisted marker seven minutes later.
Chase would pull to within one with just two minutes remaining in the first frame on Zachary Fournier’s goal.
The home club would take the lead on two quick goals at the start of the second period, Brett Alexander scoring first at 1:13 into the frame and Cory Loring following just over two minutes later.
Welch, who joined the Coyotes from North Okanagan in the off-season, then scored his two goals, the second an unassisted short-handed effort midway through the period.
“He’s a strong body, power forward and not afraid to use it in the dirty areas,” said Law of the 18-year-old from Kelowna.
The clubs would add a goal each — Alexander for Chase and Carter Shannon for Osoyoos — before the end of the period, sending the Coyotes to the third with a 5-4 advantage.
Hunter Johnson’s powerplay goal 12 minutes into the final frame sealed the win for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes managed 31 shots on Heat netminder Matthew Ens. Liam Aitken took the win for the Yotes, stopping 22 of 26 shots.
The Coyotes Austin Cleaver and Heat’s Evan Hughes were tossed for fighting near the end of the second period.
In other Okanagan-division play, the Princeton Posse edged North Okanagan Knights 3-2 in an overtime contest in Princeton. Host Summerland knocked off 100 Mile House 4-3.
The Yotes are back on the road today, travelling to Kelowna to meet the Chiefs at Rutland Arena. Game time tonight is 7 p.m.
“We like the home-openers,” Law said of the early-season games.
The Coyotes are still without two of their stalwarts from last season — both Cody Allen and Colin Bell are away.