A short bench, two suspended stars and a feisty opponent proved to be surmountable obstacles, as the Castlegar Rebels handed the Kelowna Chiefs an 8-3 loss at the Complex Saturday night.
Anthony DeLong found the back of the net three times, twice while short-handed, as the Rebels improved to 18-3 at home and 34-6 overall.
But it was Kelowna who hit the scoreboard first, just 2:31 into the game on a terrific solo effort by 17-year-old Tanner Clarkson. He dodged a Rebel defenceman at the line before snapping a shot high on goaltender Cole Buckley, who was making his first home start since being acquired from Kimberley in December.
Tyler Robinson and DeLong would give the Rebels a 2-1 edge through 20 minutes, before captain Taylor Anderson roofed one of his own early in the second.
The teams traded two goals apiece through the rest of the middle frame, with Kelowna scoring twice on separate 5-on-3 power-plays.
Frustration then set in for the visitors.
Multiple penalties, including a costly double-minor from Jeremy Wiebe allowed Robinson, Erik Wentzel and Mike Wiest to score goals 1:37 apart, chasing Chiefs goaltender Jordan Bytelaar in the process.
The Rebels scored five power-play goals on ten opportunities: in all 10 of the game’s 11 goals were scored on special teams.
Castlegar were without forwards Ryan Aynsley and Spencer Brodt due to suspension, while Curtis Pereverzoff missed his sixth consecutive game due to injury.
The Rebels return to action Tuesday night when they visit the Nelson Leafs.