Coyotes win KIJHL championship

Rebels' Erik Wentzel and Coyotes' Stefan Jensen share a moment while the teams shake hands at the end of Game 6 of the KIJHL championship. The Osoyoos Coyotes won the game 7-1 and the series 4-2.
— image credit: Kim Magi photo

The Osoyoos Coyotes couldn’t have asked for a better result.

Steve Sasyniuk’s breakaway goal 35 seconds into the game gave Osoyoos a lead they would never relinquish, as the Coyotes cruised to a 7-1 Game 6 victory and the KIJHL championship Saturday at the Complex.

Thierry Martine, Brock Anderson and Shane Hanna added first-period tallies, the latter coming with just 9.8 seconds remaining in the opening frame as Osoyoos struck early and often.

Hanna, C.J. Kort and Mark Miller also tallied for Osoyoos, while Arthur Andrews’ third-period goal broke the shutout for Coyotes netminder Kyle Laslo.

The Coyotes scored four power-play goals against a frustrated Rebels squad, while Laslo made 27 saves to collect the victory between the pipes.

Alex Ross and Cole Buckley shared duties in goal for the Rebels.

Graduating forward Erik Wentzel had one assist in his junior hockey finale, while local product Darren Tarasoff and Northern Michigan-bound Ryan Aynsley also saw their Rebels careers come to a close.

Despite the lopsided score, much of the crowd of 1,110 stayed until the bitter end to congratulate the Rebels on a stellar season that saw the franchise reach the league final for the first time in 15 years.

Osoyoos, who lost only twice in regulation time during the KIJHL’s 50-game regular season, now advances to BC’s Junior “B” championship, the Cyclone Taylor Cup, which begins next weekend in Fernie.

The Coyotes became the fourth KIJHL expansion team to win a championship in their inaugural season.

Castlegar was the first, in 1977.

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