Offensive explosion gives Rebels Game 1

The Fernie Ghostriders scored seven or more goals in a game 16 times this season, but on Monday night in Game 1 of the Kootenay Conference final, it was the Castlegar Rebels who enjoyed an offensive outburst. Taylor Anderson’s hat trick, which included the game-winner three and a half minutes into the third period, led the way as the Rebels won the series opener in front of 607 fans at the Fernie Memorial Arena by a score of 8-4.

The Fernie Ghostriders scored seven or more goals in a game 16 times this season, but on Monday night in Game 1 of the Kootenay Conference final, it was the Castlegar Rebels who enjoyed an offensive outburst.

Taylor Anderson’s hat trick, which included the game-winner three and a half minutes into the third period, led the way as the Rebels won the series opener in front of 607 fans at the Fernie Memorial Arena by a score of 8-4.

After the ‘Riders opened the scoring on a Marty Wicks power-play goal, the Rebels equalized on a break by sniper Ryan Aynsley.

A pair from Anderson along with a Spencer Brodt goal in a span of 3:20 in the second period would chase Fernie netminder (and Castlegar product) Andrew Walton before Cale Wright brought the home side back to within two by the intermission.

The third period was, in a word, wild.

Fernie equalized in the opening two minutes on tallies from two former Smoke Eaters, Jeff Zmurchyk and Trail native Thomas Abenante.

But Anderson would reply at the 3:22 mark before markers from Diego Bartlett, Anthony DeLong and Stuart Walton added much-needed insurance.

Alex Ross made 27 saves to pick up his fourth consecutive playoff win, while Fraser Abdallah was tagged with the loss despite conceding only a quarter of Castlegar’s eight markers (Walton returned after Bartlett’s goal.)

Fernie will be without sniper Abenante for Tuesday’s Game 2. The 20-year-old, who finished second to Castlegar native and teammate Scott Morisseau in league scoring with 92 points during the regular season, was assessed an automatic game misconduct late in the contest for a check from behind on Rebels forward Erik Wentzel.

After Tuesday’s Game 2, the Rebels will return home for Game 3 and Game 4 on Thursday and Saturday.