Coyotes cruising with strong depth

Coyotes strong depth led them to starting season with 10 straight wins

OSOYOOS COYOTES netminder Lawrence Langan of Penticton makes a toe save on this shot by Summerland Steam Cody Egilson as teammate Braden Eliuk is knocked off his feet during a Monday matinee Kootenay International Junior Hockey League game at the Summerland Arena. The visitors outscored the Steam 6-2 in the Okanagan Division contest.

OSOYOOS COYOTES netminder Lawrence Langan of Penticton makes a toe save on this shot by Summerland Steam Cody Egilson as teammate Braden Eliuk is knocked off his feet during a Monday matinee Kootenay International Junior Hockey League game at the Summerland Arena. The visitors outscored the Steam 6-2 in the Okanagan Division contest.

Not even in their championship season did the Osoyoos Coyotes start with 10 straight wins.

That year coach Ken Law and the Coyotes enjoyed an 8-0-1-1 start and won 42 of 50 games en route to winning the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League title.

After winning their 10th straight game on Oct. 4, the Coyotes start came to a halt Oct. 10 following a 4-3 loss to the Sicamous Eagles at the Osoyoos Sun Bowl. They lost their second straight 3-2 to the Chase Heat on Oct. 11. Even in the two losses, Law said they “probably controlled the games, just didn’t get the results.” Against the Eagles, the Coyotes were tied at two then surrendered two shorthanded goals late in the third period.

“We knew were weren’t going to go undefeated throughout the season,” said Law, adding they will try to get another winning streak going.

While it was disappointing for the streak to end, Law said it wasn’t a big focus.

“They were always pretty humble. They knew they had to play at the top of their game,” said Law.

The KIJHL doesn’t have any statistical facts to determine the longest winning streaks, but the Cranbrook Colts in 1974-75 have the highest winning percentage of 94.11 when they won 32 of 34 games. Four years later, the Trail Junior Smoke Eaters won 37 of 40 games. In the Coyotes’ championship season they won 42 of 50 games.

The losing skid was shortlived as the Coyotes earned a convincing 6-2 road win against the Summerland Steam on Monday.

KIJHL president Bill Ohlhausen said the start the Coyotes are having is fantastic.

“It’s always great when a team comes out of the blocks like that,” said Ohlhausen, who plans to see the Coyotes in regular season action for the first time three weeks from now.

Law said the team is doing well because he can roll four lines, which he feels hurts opposing teams that are unable to do the same.

Leading the Coyotes in goals is Penticton’s Jackson DeMatos with nine in six games. Behind DeMatos is Colten Braid with eight goals in 13 games, while Rainer Glimpel sat atop the league scoring lead with seven goals and 22 points in 13 games.

The Coyotes have five players among the top 20 scoring leaders. In goal, Penticton’s Lawrence Langan has won nine of 10 games, while Brandon Locket is 1-1.

Law said he doesn’t think his championship team was as deep as this group, but had veteran players such as Thierry Martin, who potted 45 goals in 50 games, while Stefan Jensen had 46.

“We have a younger team this year,” said Law, who has 11 rookies in his lineup. “I think we have as strong if not a stronger team. I think that our consistency will be more than what we had the first year.”

Langan, who won 18 regular and nine playoff games as a rookie last season, has been steady. He has the sixth best goals against average at 2.46, but leads with nine wins and cracks the top 10 with a .916 save percentage.

“If he can see the puck he will stop it,” said Law. “He doesn’t give out a lot of rebounds. He’s one of those guys that wants to win.”

On Thursday, Langan joined the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials and will stay with them for the weekend as an affiliate player.

The Coyotes, who have averaged 280 fans per home game, host the Princeton Posse, Oct. 19 at the Oliver Arena at 1:35 p.m.