The 2011 KIJHL Kootenay Conference final is turning into a back-and-forth affair, after the Castlegar Rebels and Fernie Ghostriders each won once this week in the Elk Valley.
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 Monday in front of 607 fans at the Fernie Memorial Arena.
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).
Abenante was suspended for Tuesday’s Game Two.
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.
But despite missing Abenante from the lineup, the Ghostriders showed just how dangerous they can be, scoring early and often in a 5-2 Game 2 victory over the Castlegar Rebels Tuesday night.
After Connor McLaughlin opened the scoring just 48 seconds into the game, Wright snuck a wrist shot from the left face-off circle past Ross to give the home side a 2-0 lead just 2:59 into the game.
Fernie’s Luke Richardson, a former Rebel, would add to the ‘Rider advantage before the period was out.
After Brodt cut the lead to 3-1 while short-handed, Morisseau scored the first of his two goals to restore Fernie’s three-goal lead late in the second period.
Morisseau and Tyler Robinson would trade third-period tallies as the Ghostriders salvaged a split of the two games at the Fernie Memorial Arena.
Chris Wahl is a news reporter at Mountain FM who’s covering the Rebels for the Castlegar News this season. He’s also the play-by-play voice of the Rebels webcasts on KIJHL.ca. For more on the Rebels, check out Chris’ blog at: off-the-wahl.blogspot.com