The Castlegar Rebels downed Grand Forks 6-3 on Friday and Creston Valley 4-1 on Saturday to give a huge boost to their playoff hopes.
The Rebels (14-27-06) now have a three-point cushion on the Border Bruins (13-29-1-4) for the final postseason berth in the KIJHL’s Neil Murdoch Division.
Each team has two games left to play. Castlegar only needs one win or a Bruins loss to punch their playoff ticket.
On Friday, Colby Winia and Justin Duguay spotted the Rebels a 2-0 first period lead before Grand Forks replied to make it 2-1.
In the second, the teams traded goals, including a power play marker from Castlegar’s Jaedon Little. The Bruins tied the game at three in the third, but the Rebels scored three times in the last three minutes to put the game away. Griffen Ryden, Cody Quinton, and Keaghan Holub were the goal scorers. Josh Wiens and Tyson Soobotin each had a pair of assists.
Dawson Rattai stopped 36 shots as Castlegar outshot Grand Forks 43-39.
On Saturday, Elijah Havers gave Castlegar a 1-0 lead after one against Creston Valley. The Rebels ran the score up to 3-0 in the second on goals by Cortez Favot and Tyren Grimsdale before Creston got on the board. Holub sealed the victory in the third period.
Soobotin picked up two more assists and Rattai stopped 41 shots. The Rebels won despite only firing 20 shots the other way.
If the Rebels clinch a playoff spot, their first-round opponent will be either the Beaver Valley Nitehawks or Nelson Leafs, who are in their own fight to finish first.
Nelson beat the Rebels 4-2 last Tuesday. The Leafs were up 4-0 in the third period before Castlegar staged a modest comeback on goals from Andrew Rennie and Griffen Ryden. It was too little, too late.
Rattai made 21 saves. Castlegar only had 15 shots on the Nelson net.
The Rebels’ final games of the regular season are both at home, Friday against Beaver Valley and Saturday against Creston Valley. Both games start at 7 p.m.