Castlegar’s midget Rebels hockey team made sure that the gold stayed in Castlegar through hard work, determination and team play during a tournament held here last weekend. The team, made up of 15 to 17 year old players from Castlegar and Nelson, battled seven other teams in the tight tournament.
The midget Rebels tied their first game against Cranbrook 3-3. They were ahead until the last few minutes of the game when Cranbrook scored a goal, and the final buzzer closed the game with the tie still in place.
Their second game was against a Calgary team and had similar results. With 35 seconds left in the game, Calgary scored and once again the game ended in a tie.
Everything came together in game three, allowing Castlegar to defeat Okotoks 7-0. That win moved the midget Rebels into the semi finals.
The first game of the semi-finals saw Castlegar play Trail, and the clock ran out with a tie on the score board. Eventually Castlegar was victorious when team captain Ellis Junker scored a goal in double overtime.
The final game was played against Bow Valley. Castlegar had a very good start, leading 3-1. Momentum shifted as the game progressed and Bow Valley took a 4-3 lead. Castlegar battled back to once again end in a tie. In double overtime, Tanner Costa scored the game and tournament winning goal ending the game 5-4.
Castlegar Coach Grant Pilla was extremely happy with his player’s performance. “Every player at one point or another really stepped up. I was just thoroughly impressed with the overall effort of the team. Their character was unbelievable. It was totally a team effort.”
The next stop for the team is the tier 2 midget provincials being held in Prince George, March 13-17. Coach Pilla has hopes that his team can repeat their performance and bring a medal home. “We are going to go there with character and play with pride, representing our town and our association and ourselves the best we can,” he said. Winning the Castlegar tournament and one a few weeks ago in Trail has given the team confidence heading in to provincials.
“It’s been an exceptional year,” said Pilla. “This has been an enjoyable team to coach.”