It seems the Kamloops Storm still has a lot to learn.
The Storm fell to 3-1-0-2 in KIJHL play after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre on Saturday. It was the second straight loss for the Storm, which fell 4-3 to the visiting Chase Heat on Friday.
There was absolutely no consistency to the Storm's effort in Saturday's contest, as it floated through much of the first two periods before a great start to the third. But, after Kamloops took a 2-1 lead with 7:11 remaining, it slowed down again, allowing Osoyoos to tie the game and force overtime.
"We probably only played, maybe, 15-20 minutes in the third period," said Storm head coach Brad Priestlay. "We needed a lot better effort than that tonight."
As dejected as Priestlay was, the man who scored the overtime winner, Alex Grupe, was ecstatic.
It was a great debut for Grupe, a 20-year-old originally from Chicago. The Coyotes acquired the forward from the Campbell River Storm of the VIJHL last week, and he had only been on the ice with his new teammates twice.
"First game in the KIJHL - good times," said Grupe, who had five points in six games with Campbell River before the trade. "I wanted to produce in the first game. I wanted to show the guys out here that I can contribute and step up for them."
For the second night in a row, the Storm was stymied by a Kamloops-born goaltender. On Friday, it was Jacob Mattes stopping 48 shots; on Saturday, Wade Moyls, whom the Storm traded to the Coyotes at the start of the season, made 31 saves.
Moyls certainly had it easier than Mattes, as the Storm struggled to get any traffic or scoring chances throughout two periods.
"In the third period, we were down 1-0 and we started to play with a little desperation," Priestlay said. "We need to play that way from the drop of the puck. You can't start playing desperation when you're down a goal going into the third - it has to come at the start of the game."
It didn't help that Kamloops was without two of its top forwards - Blake Culbert missed his third straight game with a shoulder injury, while Ryan Skinner injured a leg in Friday's game and sat out Saturday.
"It's a team effort . . . we're missing some guys, but that's not an excuse," Priestlay said. "We've got enough guys here who can get the job done, and it comes down to who wants to do it."
Scott Folden, in the first period, and Garrett Kucher, in the third, also scored for Osoyoos. Briar McNaney and Aaron Markin, on a power-play, scored third-period goals for the Storm. Marcus Beesley made 31 saves for Kamloops.
The Storm is scheduled to play its next five on the road, starting with a Friday game against the Eagles in Sicamous.
On Sunday, the Coyotes went into Chase and dumped the Heat 5-0.
Grupe had a goal and two assists, and Moyls made 31 saves in the shutout. Austin Lee, Kucher, Brett Anderson and Colin Chmelka also scored for Osoyoos.
Mattes made 23 saves for Chase, before being replaced by Devon Pearson, who stopped three of four shots.
The Heat is off to the West Kootenay, where it will open a three-game trip with a Friday game against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Fruitvale.