With their win in Spokane Sunday night

With their win in Spokane Sunday night

Rebels clinch division title

  • Jan. 31, 2011 11:00 a.m.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Three straight second-period goals erased an early deficit and lifted the Castlegar Rebels to their first division title in 15 years.

In what amounted to a spirited playoff preview, Castlegar took their seventh victory of the season from the Spokane Braves with a 4-2 win Sunday afternoon at Eagles Ice-A-Rena.

Castlegar opened the scoring just four minutes into the game thanks to Curtis Pereverzoff, but fell behind by the intermission after the Braves tallied twice in 1:56.

A.J. King pounced on a loose puck in front of Rebels goaltender Cole Buckley to tie the score, then agitator Tanner Slarks snapped a wrist shot into the top corner of the net to give the home side a 2-1 advantage.

The Rebels took control in the second stanza.

Diego Bartlett tied the score on a nifty cross-ice pass from captain Taylor Anderson five-and-a-half minutes into the middle frame.

The scoreline would stay the same until Ryan Aynsley snuck a wrister past Spokane netminder Garrett Barr for his 30th goal of the season.

Tyler Jones’ seeing-eye point shot fooled Barr 1:29 after Aynsley put Castlegar ahead, rounding out the scoring.

Despite there being no goals in the third period, it was far from a dull finish.

After killing a lengthy five-on-three penalty, Castlegar found themselves down a forward after Slarks jumped rookie Arthur Andrews.

Both were ejected for fighting and will incur automatic one-game suspensions.

Forward Josh McGladery will likely join Andrews on the sideline Tuesday against Beaver Valley after he picked up a high-sticking major penalty with just under three minutes left.

The 17-year-old from Vancouver caught King across the visor, and despite initially keeping his arm lowered, referee Steve Fleming handed down the major after consulting with his linesmen.

The Rebels were without defenceman Mike Wiest Sunday after he picked up a knock in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Princeton.

The Braves were even more short-handed, with head coach Mike Bay joining Guisseppe Dippolito and Ryan Hadley-Schaal on the suspended list, while defenceman Jacob Walsh and forward Mitch Fowler missed the game with illness and injury, respectively.

Castlegar can still mathematically catch the Fernie Ghostriders for the top seed in the Kootenay Conference, as the Elk Valley club sits four points ahead of the Rebels in the overall standings.

The club has six games left, (three home, three away), before they open the playoffs at home against Spokane on Valentine’s Day.