Overtime win for Rebels in Tuesday night thriller

The Castlegar Rebels have relied on depth all season, but it was an affiliate call-up who played the role of hero Tuesday night.

Jesse Knowler scored two-and-a-half minutes into overtime to give the Castlegar Rebels a 7-6 victory, and 2-0 best-of-seven series lead over the Spokane Braves.

Knowler, who skates with the Kootenay Ice of the B.C. Major Midget League, snapped a shot past the blocker of Braves goaltender Garrett Barr to give Castlegar the victory.

Sniper Ryan Aynsley scored a hat-trick for Castlegar in Game 2, while Diego Bartlett, Spencer Brodt, and Erik Wentzel also tallied for the Rebels.

After blowing 3-0 and 4-2 leads to the pesky Braves, Castlegar thought they had the game won when Wentzel converted on the power-play with 1:47 remaining in the third period.

But Spokane’s Uriah Machuga, who spent part of the fall with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters, sent the game into overtime in the final 30 seconds of play.

The series now shifts to Spokane for Games 3 and 4 Thursday and Friday nights.

If necessary, a Game 5 would be Sunday evening in Castlegar.