The Castlegar Rebels snapped their losing streak over the weekend and kept their playoff hopes alive.
The Rebels downed the Grand Forks Border Bruins in both ends of a home-and-home series to stay within two points of the final playoff berth in the KIJHL’s Neil Murdoch Division.
But first they fell 3-1 to Spokane on Dec. 10. Colby Chavez Leech had Castlegar’s lone goal while Dawson Rattai stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced. The Rebels fired 26 in the opposite direction.
On Friday in Grand Forks, there was no scoring in the first, but Justin Duguay scored twice in the second and Chavez Leech added another as the Rebels grabbed a 3-2 lead. Mason Hartman sealed it with a shorthanded empty netter in the dying seconds of the third, and the Rebels won 4-2.
Hartman also had an assist while Josh Wiens had a pair of assists. Rattai made 38 saves.
It was the Rebels’ first win after 11 straight defeats.
On Saturday at home, Duguay put the Rebels up 1-0 against Grand Forks after the first period. Kyle Bailey scored twice for Grand Forks in the second but Tyren Grimsdale responded for Castlegar, to make it 2-2 after the second.
Jadeon Little put Castlegar back on top in the third, but the Border Bruins quickly tied the game. Wiens notched the winner with a little over two minutes left as the Rebels skated away with a 4-3 victory. Wiens also had two assists. Rattai made 37 saves.
Heading into Tuesday’s home game against Nelson — which was after the News’ deadline — the Rebels were 8-16-0-4 and had 20 points, two fewer than fourth-place Grand Forks with two games in hand.
The Rebels next play a home-and-home against Beaver Valley, starting with a home match on Friday at 7 p.m. and the return contest Saturday. Those will be their final games of 2019.
RATTAI RECOGNIZED: Rebels goalie Dawson Rattai has been named one of the KIJHL’s stars of the week.
In seven games with the Rebels, the East St. Paul, Man. is 2-5-0 with a 3.98 average and .890 save percentage.
“I feel pretty solid about my performance, obviously I want a couple of those goals back, but through that I stayed confident with myself, and continue to do everything I can to help give the team a chance to win,” Rattai said.
“I want to keep myself consistent day in and day out, and continue to work as hard as I can.”