Just when the Kelowna Chiefs needed it most, their offense went on hiatus.
The Chiefs averaged just a goal a game en route to being swept by the Osyoos Coyotes in their KIJHL opening round playoff series.
The Coyotes won the first three games handily, 5-0, 5-2 and 4-1, before wrapping up the four-game sweep with a 4-1 victory Saturday night at the Sun Bowl.
“We just didn’t score,” said Chiefs head coach Ken Andrusiak. “Four goals in four games isn’t going to get you anywhere. This (slump) started about a month ago, and we just never really got it back.”
The Chiefs also closed out the regular season on a downer, dropping their last five games.
Andrusiak said some key injuries, along with a young, largely inexperienced defense also played into the team’s struggles over final weeks of the season.
Another factor in the club’s swoon was the loss of forward Nick Josephs—the KIJHL’s leading scorer at the time of his departure—who joined the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks in January.
“I thought we adapted pretty well for a month, but then it sort of caught up with us,” he said. “Nick made everybody around him better and when he left, there was a gap there.”
On the upside, Andrusiak said 18 of 23 players are eligible to come back next season and if most of them do, the coach expects to ice a strong team in 2013-14.
The Chiefs will host their spring camp April 18 to 23 at Rutland Arena. For more information, visit www.kelownachiefs.com.
Chiefs award winners
Four members of the Chiefs were presented last weekend with the individual awards in the Okanagan Division.
Nick Headrick was named the division’s top defenceman, Brady Mende won most sportsmanlike honours, Tyler O’Donnell was recognized as the top netminder, while Jagger Bowles was the top scorer in the division during the regular season with 75 points.