By Derek Kaye,
Castlegar News contributor
It was a good weekend (February 7 and 8) for the Castlegar Rebels. They are in the final stretch of the regular season and the need to secure their play-off spot is front and centre. So this past weekend with back to back games, the first on Friday in Castlegar and the next day in Grand Forks, had a sense of pressure as the last place team Border Bruins try to dislodge the teams above them including third place Rebels in the Murdoch Division.
The Border Bruins with their new coach Kevin Flather pushed the Rebels to perform and fight to prove their worth. And with a stroke of numerology the Rebels beat the Border Bruins by the same score both nights 6 – 2.
Scrappy is not a strong enough a word to describe the abundance of cheap shots and provocations that caused intense fighting at Friday’s game. Fortunately for the home crowd Rebels Diego Bartlett ended up victorious in
landing the most punches in the shortest time possible against his struggling opponent in the most major of the tussles, and was awarded a double game misconduct. Puzzling is a good word to describe how you can be ejected from a game twice but somehow Diego managed to do it with style.
Friday’s game opened with the Border Bruins on the scoreboard first at 17:36 with a goal by Max Newton assisted by Lukas Peters and Lincoln Lane. The Rebels scored just past the halfway mark in the first when Kody Disher jammed the puck by Bruins goalie Dominic Stadnyk in a crease-side melee. In the second period the Rebels scored on two power play opportunities – by Jeremy McNeil from Darren Medeiros and Connor Beauchemin at 16:37, and again at 6:40 by Chase Reddin assisted by Aaron Brewer and Kody Disher. As Bruins Coach Kevin Lather would later comment, “Bottom line, penalties killed us.” The Bruins did score once in the second, Kyle Dolly from Tucker Brown and Nathan Cory. Diego Bartlett gave the Rebels one more goal before the second period ended, set up by Derek Georgopoulos and Hunter Jenerou.
The third period was dominated by the Rebels as they scored twice more in the last half with Kody Disher (Aaron Petten and Aaron Brewer) finding the mark, and Matt Reed filling an empty net with only 1:48 left in the game assisted by Aaron Petten and Kody Disher along with the Border Bruins last minute attempts to get a goal through. Matt Reed spoke later that, “It was a rough game tonight, both teams are battling for a play-off spot…we’re crash bang do everything we can.” It certainly was a philosophy that worked as the Rebels inch closer to the play-offs to defend their 2013 championship. Next weekend finds the Rebels playing the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Friday February 14 in Beaver Valley and on Saturday in Castlegar. Beaver Valley is in second place above Castlegar’s third place in the Murdoch division of the KIJHL.