The Castlegar Rebels tied against the Nelson Leafs on Saturday after a heartbreaking loss to Spokane on Friday.
Friday night’s game in Spokane didn’t start off well for the Rebels.
They gave up three in the first period, including one power play goal scored by the Braves’ Paxtone Malone after Evan Della Paolera took a penalty for too many men on the ice.
Things marginally improved in the second after John Moeller scored a goal assisted by Jordan Wood and Ren Mason scored an unassisted goal, but the Rebels also gave up two in the period and it ended 5-2 for the Braves.
But then in the third, the Rebels got back into the game.
Wood, assisted by Mason, scored a power-play goal in the first half of the third.
Shortly afterwards Edward Lindsey, assisted by Chris Breese, scored as well and then Breese assisted Lindsey again to tie the game 5-5.
The game went into overtime and the Rebels battled it out, but came up short when the Braves’ Trail Thompson scored in the second overtime period.
“We didn’t have the start we wanted to. We were down 4-0 at one point in that game and again the boys figured it out, kind of clicked it on and then we’re down 5-2 and tied it up 5-5,” said Rebels head coach and general manager Bill Rotheisler said Saturday. “We had the majority of the chances in overtime against Spokane and it just came back the other way and that’s just how it goes sometimes.”
The Rebels fared better against the Leafs in Nelson on Saturday.
Lindsey started things off with a power-play goal in the first, assisted by Moeller and Brady Daniels, but then the Leafs’ Logan Wullum, assisted by Nicholas Wihak and Sawyer Hunt, tied things up.
Moeller then scored an unassisted goal, putting the Rebels back in the lead and the period ended 2-1.
Wihak, assisted by Hunt and Dash Thompson, tied things up again in the second and the Rebels’ Jesse Belley, assisted by Evan Della Paolera, put his team back in the lead.
The Leafs’ Brendan Makay, assisted by Brent Headon and Wihak, tied things up again early in the third and then Ryan Piva, assisted by Zach Morey, gave the Leafs’ their first lead of the game.
But Moeller, assisted by Chase Daniels, managed to tie things up before the end of the period — to the dismay of Leafs’ fans.
Both teams played hard through two periods of overtime, but neither managed to find the net and the game ended in a tie.
“I thought our boys played well considering we had a really, really short roster and were missing some key guys — a lot of key guys — and our guys dug deep after two and two and made it through adversity yesterday,” said Rotheisler. “I know it was a tie, but it’s a moral victory. We feel good about it.”
Everett Hicks and Brandon Costa are still out with injuries, Vince Bitonti was suspended for three games during the Rebels’ last game against the Leafs on Feb. 4, Jacob Lindsey had the flu, Tanner Costa was out for assessment, Shawn Campbell had a concussion and Reid Wilson was done after taking a hard hit in the first period.
Nonetheless, Rotheisler feels the team is making good progress and is optimistic heading into the playoffs.
“We kind of went through a lot of adversity over the last … 10 games and we feel like we’ve been healing over the last week or two and it feels like we’re that much closer with these two come from behind points that we’ve taken over the last two games,” he said.
With just two games left in the regular season, the Rebels already know they’ll be facing the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the first round of the playoffs.
“They’re a good team, they’re a structured team, but we know they play heavy, but they don’t play dirty, so we’re really looking forward to that series. We’re excited,” said Rotheisler.
The Rebels will face the Leafs one last time in the regular season on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Castlegar Complex.
Castlegar’s final game of the regular season will be played at home against the Braves at 7 p.m. on Saturday.