The Rebels had back to back wins last Friday and Saturday Jan. 22 and 23 in front of hometown fans. The visiting Creston Valley Thunder Cats were reduced to a meow on Friday. TheRebels took control of the game from the start of the second period sinking five goals down their gullet. Nick Headrick scored twice in the third period assisted by Darren Medeiros forboth goals and Vince Bitonti for one and Jesse Reeds for another. Bitonti scored himself and gained an assist in the second period. It was not bad work for a defenceman and it meritedhim the Away Team Star.
Saturday saw a tougher match with the Nelson Leafs mainly due to some fine goaltending by Nelson Leafs’ Patrick Ostermann who was awarded the Away Team Star. He fended offattack after attack created by the manoeuvres of the Rebels’ offence and defence. Forty-three shots went his way. He only allowed one goal during regular play. But it was NickHeadrick’s continuous sharpshooting that finally won the day with a minute and half remaining in the first five minute overtime period.
The Nelson Leafs’ No. 6 Aigne McGeady-Bruce was given a two minute penalty on a play that perhaps warranted a penalty shot. With the one man advantage the Rebels dominated thepuck in the Leafs zone. Knowing Headrick’s abilities the Leafs’ defence tried almost desperately to physically “take him out”. But with no further penalties called the Rebels played agame of patience as they passed the puck quicker than one could follow with one’s eyes from player to player from the corner to the point to the centre and then finally with hundredsof spectators shouting simultaneously, “Shoot It! Shoot It! Shoot It!” Headrick snapped one away. And like piercing an apple on top of someone’s head with an arrow, the puck went inthe space that lies below the groin of the goalie to score.
Headrick was awarded the Home Team Star. His playing abilities were welcomed back along with Mike Bhatoa who spent Jan.15-17 on the sidelines nursing minor injuries. Alsowelcomed this game was the fine goaltending of new Rebels backup goalie Paul Broadbent. He stopped 22 of 23 shots to keep the Leafs to one goal. He fills the gap left by JosephMcleod who was bumped up to play Junior A Hockey in Prince George.
Nick Headrick spoke after the game about the winning goal.
“Kept it simple. They couldn’t get the puck out and then I had a chance to shoot and I found the net luckily.” When asked about his injury the week before, he replied, “I had somethingwrong with my oblique muscles, but it is all better now.”
With their best skate forward, the Rebels are a force to be reckoned with. They are only eight points behind first place Beaver Valley, who lost one of their weekend games, in the NeilMurdoch Division of the KIJHL. The Rebels play at home on Saturday, Jan. 30 against the Kimberly Dynamiters. Kimberly are in first place in the Eddie Mountain Division with a record of33 wins and 5 losses.
The game without a doubt will be explosive. Puck charge is dropped at 7 p.m.