The Castlegar Rebels lost their second-round playoff series against the Nelson Leafs on Monday.
The Leafs started with a goal early in the first, scored by Ethan Beattie, assisted by Jaiden LaPorte and Mitchell Lavoie.
The Rebels spent a lot of the period in their own zone, the Leafs out-shooting them 14-6, and the Leafs played a physical period.
At the end of the first, the Rebels’ Tanner Costa took two minutes for cross-checking, so the Rebels opened the second on a penalty kill, but Evan Della Paolera managed a short-handed breakaway goal to tie the game.
Later in the period, Shawn Campbell took two minutes for goaltender interference and Jack Karran, assisted by Dash Thompson and Nicholas Wihak, scored a power-play goal, putting his team back in the lead.
Lavoie then scored an unassisted goal later in the period to give his team a two-point lead.
In the third, Chris Breese scored his second goal for the Rebels, but then seconds later Chase Daniels took two minutes and a 10-minute misconduct for head contact against Wihak and the Leafs’ Michael Bladon, assisted by Sawyer Hunt and Thompson, scored his team’s fourth goal of the night.
Dallas Goodwin took two minutes for cross-checking soon after and the Leafs counted yet another power-play goal, this one scored by LaPorte and assisted by Hunt and Michael LeNoury.
With the Rebels down three, tempers started to flare.
After Brandon Costa took two minutes for high-sticking and the Leafs’ Brent Headon took two for charging, Breese took a 10-minute misconduct for yelling at an official.
Then Tanner Costa took a two-minute penalty for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct and Bill Rotheisler, head coach and general manager, was given a 10-minute misconduct for yelling at an official.
Goodwin then took a penalty for high-sticking and Scott Rademaker took two for cross-checking.
At one point there were four Rebels in the penalty box.
The game ended 5-2 for the Leafs and the Rebels lost the series 4-1.
The mood in the hallway outside the Rebels’ dressing room afterwards was mournful and Rotheisler expressed his disappointment with the loss.
“I certainly would rather win and Nelson played well. They were the better team today and so hats off to them,” he said. “I wish it would have ended a bit different because at the end of the day Nelson played well tonight and they kind of deserved to win on their own terms.”
Rotheisler didn’t think his team shot enough.
“I thought there was a lot of times we came down in their end and whether it was on a rush, or even there were times when we actually established some good zone time and didn’t give the puck an opportunity,” he said. “So I think if there’s something we could have done, it would have been nice to shoot a little more. Overall, we made it a tight game and we got back into it, and then it just sort of unfolded. And we’ve got to take less penalties, obviously.”
Asked about the call against Breese, Rotheisler declined to say what explanation he was given by the official but said the Rebels would be talking to the league.
“We’ve got some things to discuss there that obviously I would rather not discuss here, but we certainly are shocked at the explanation we were given,” he said.
Asked about the 10 minutes he received for a misconduct, Rotheisler said, “For his explanation. I didn’t ethically agree with the explanation.”
Rotheisler said the Rebels were sad following the loss, especially the 20-year-olds, who will not be continuing on in the league.
Now that the Rebels’ season is finished, Rotheisler will be hitting the road to begin filling the roster.
“If there’s one advantage to not playing, it’s you can use that to see stuff that while the other teams are busy preparing for their next game and stuff, we can try to make some ground from the scouting and recruiting standpoint,” he said. “We really like our group of new players coming in and we have to start making some decisions on what our team will look like next year.”
The Rebels have five retiring players this year and will have to cut some of the players headed into their final eligible year, as they can only have a maximum of five.
Rotheisler said there will also be an emphasis on helping players find opportunities in the offseason.
“As an organization one of the things we take pride in is even though our season on the ice is over, we have a lot of work to do and that includes not only scouting and recruiting, but that includes doing the work and the footwork that a lot of other organizations don’t do for their players,” he said. “We’re going to be making phone calls, trying to not only get our guys opportunities but the right places.”
Rotheisler wanted to thank everyone involved with the organization.
“I’m really proud to be a Castlegar Rebel regardless of the outcome tonight.”