It may have been seen as just one final tune-up before the KIJHL playoffs, but the Castlegar Rebels made sure to provide a healthy amount of suspense.
Castlegar scored three times in the final four minutes of the third period before Stuart Walton lifted a rebound home 18 seconds into overtime to defeat the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 4-3 in Fruitvale.
It was Walton’s second goal of the game, as he and linemate Tyler Robinson provided the entirety of the Rebels offence in their regular-season finale.
It was the hometown ‘Hawks though, who found themselves ahead late.
After the first 40 minutes went by without a goal, a pair of tallies from Ryan Baines and a single from Ryon Sookro jumpstarted Beaver Valley in the third, setting the stage for their second win against Castlegar in as many nights.
But the Rebels bit into the lead, thanks to Robinson’s first goal at the 16-minute mark.
After his side took a penalty for having too many men on the ice, Nitehawk forward Daniel Bishop, (who scored the game-winner Friday), clipped Rebels centreman Jamie Vlanich with a high-stick, drawing a double minor penalty.
Walton would cut the lead to 3-2, before a Robinson tip-in with 59 seconds remaining in regulation leveled the score.
Walton’s overtime winner, a rebound shot heaved above outstretched Nitehawks goaltender Zach Perehudoff, completed the comeback, and cemented a 42-8 finish for Castlegar heading into the KIJHL playoffs.
Castlegar won’t have much time to prepare for the post-season, though.
They open their playoff series against Spokane at home Monday and Tuesday night at the Complex (both 7:30 starts), and will look to exact revenge on the team that knocked them out in the first round in 2010.