The Castlegar Rebels trusted Connor Beauchamp in net for game one of the Kootenay Conference final against the Golden Rockets in Castlegar, and it was a decision the coaching staff would not regret.
In only his second start of the post-season, Beauchamp backed the Rebels to a 4 – 0 shutout, turning aside all 20 shots from the Rockets.
At 7:24 of the first, Rebels forward Cody Disher slipped home the first goal of the game. The scoring play came with just 23 seconds left in a power play after a cross-checking minor, on a feed from Travis Wellman.
It was Disher’s third goal in 13 playoff games.
With a demanding schedule, fatigue seemed to be playing a part with loose passing from both sides. The two teams had only faced each other twice in the regular season and, through 40 minutes, play was somewhat tentative as they felt each other out.
The Rockets net minder James Leonard faced three power play chances from the Rebels in the second and was good on all of them.
In the third, however, the Rebels didn’t need power play goals to extend the lead.
At 17:10, Disher netted his second of the night from Braydon Horcoff and Huner Jenerou; at 9:53 Diego Bartlett scored his sixth of the playoffs from Jamie Vlanich and at 5:04 Darren Medeiros grabbed the fourth marker (and his fourth of the playoffs).
Beauchamp even got on the score sheet with the second-assist feed to Erik Alden
Late in the game a nasty boarding call to the Rockets’ Jacob Bergeron, saw JR Krolik play the role of enforcer – he was sent to the dressing room for his trouble with a game misconduct, as was Bergeron.
Game two in the series is Saturday, Mar. 16 also at the Castlegar Community Complex at 7:30 p.m.
In other KIJHL action, the Osoyoos Coyotes won the first game of the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference Final 6 – 2 over the North Okanagan Knights in Armstrong.