This coming weekend will prove to be significant for the Kelowna Chiefs and Osoyoos Coyotes Junior Hockey Club. They play each other twice, once each at home, and are separated by a single point. It could and should be argued there isn't much between the two teams this season.
So what might separate them? They've faced one another once this season, a 3-2 win by the Chiefs. It was fast, aggressive and just plain fun to watch. Even though the Chiefs came out on top, it could have gone either way.
The difference just might come on special teams. The Chiefs are one of the most penalized team in the leagues, giving opponents 7.5 chances on the powerplay per game. Though they've scored three times short-handed, it's a dangerous way to play against the Coyotes. They've been vicious on the powerplay scoring 24 of their 56 goals with the man advantage.
For Kelowna's part, they do have a very aggressive and patient penalty kill. Jason Village has two of the team's three short-handed goals and he seems to get a chance every time he's out there. The bigger picture for Kelowna is their penalty kill percentage is average at 82.7% and the powerplay numbers fall somewhere on the backside of the curve at 15%. Average, but potentially deadly.
So for two teams looking to get a leg up on each other it will be a result of one capitalizing on opportunities given, or the other just staying out of the penalty box.
The Chiefs host Saturday night at 7pm at Rutland Arena. Sunday's game will be in Osoyoos at the Sun Bowl Arena at 7:35pm.
Following the weekend games against Osoyoos, the Chiefs host North Okanagan Knights on Tuesday evening at 7pm at Rutland Arena.