The Castlegar Rebels pulled off a win over the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday night

The Castlegar Rebels pulled off a win over the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday night

Rebels headed into playoffs against Leafs

The Castlegar Rebels are headed into the first round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs against the Nelson Leafs.

The Castlegar Rebels are headed into the first round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs against the Nelson Leafs.

The Rebels claimed two more victories over the weekend, giving them 30 wins for the season.

On Friday they defeated the Grand Forks Border Bruins.

The Bruins scored the only goal of the first period, but the Rebels returned ready to play in the second, and Shawn Campbell scored a short-handed goal halfway through the period, assisted by Daneel Lategan, tying the game. Campbell then scored a second goal less than four minutes later, giving the Rebels their first lead of the game.

Shortly into the third, the Bruins’ Jordan Robertson received a four-minute penalty for butt-ending and the Rebels took advantage to score a power play goal. The team went on to rack up another four goals, ending the game 7-1, and ending the series 7-1.

Then on Saturday the Rebels swept the series against the Spokane Braves.

Things started out well for the Braves, who scored less than a minute into the period, but things quickly turned around as the Braves started making trips to the penalty box. The Rebels scored two power play goals in the first, and Logan Styler scored another goal in the last seven minutes, ending the period 3-1 for the Rebels. Castlegar then counted the only goal in the second.

Though the Braves did better in the third, scoring three more goals, the Rebels also counted two more, and the game ended with the Rebels winning 6-4.

Now the team is preparing for the playoffs going up against the Leafs, who narrowly secured third place in the division after also defeating the Braves and Bruins over the weekend.

The Rebels finished this season’s series against the Leafs 6-2, with one overtime win. While the Rebels have a statistical advantage, they have struggled to play a full game over the season and the Rebels’ frustrations sometimes became their opponents’ advantage as they incurred penalties and gave away power play opportunities.

But the Rebels have made progress over the season, playing more consistently from period to period and checking themselves when their emotions started to run high, as they did in their game against the Bruins on Feb. 10. It remains to be seen whether or not these improvements will carry over into the playoffs.

The Rebels will face the Leafs in their first playoff game on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Castlegar.