The Castlegar Rebels raised the banner for the team’s 2010-11 Kootenay Conference Championship at Friday’s game at the Castlegar Community Complex. Doing the honours were returning veteran players Anthony Delong and Erik Alden.
Rebel coach Steve Junker, who as a first year coach last year helped bring the team deep into the play-offs all the way to the KIJHL final, was pleased to see the banner being raised before the team’s home opener against Nelson.
“It was exciting,” said Junker about watching the banner being raised. “I think our run last year is in lots of people’s memories. It was a lot of fun and a great experience. Hopefully, [the banner raising] showed the new guys coming in how exciting it is and what’s possible.”
Unfortunately, the banner raising was the highlight of Friday night for the Rebels as they lost 3-0 to Nelson in the regular season opener.
Nelson was led by two goals from Patrick Martens and a single by Colton Malmstren.
Leaf goalie Andrew Walton, who hails from Castlegar, was strong in net for Nelson as he picked up the shutout turning away 27 Rebel shots.
“Early on it would’ve been nice to have snuck one by him and maybe change the momentum,” said Junker. “But that wasn’t the case. It’s early and guys are still feeling out our system but it really came down to lack of work ethic on our part.”
The Rebs bounced back, however, and beat the Leafs in Nelson 6-3 on Saturday night.
“We played much better as a team,” said Rebel defenceman Aaron Brewer. “We played all the systems that coach Junker wanted us to. Everyone was clicking. We got on their defenceman and didn’t give them time to make decisions that they made on Friday.”
Patrick Martens of Nelson opened the scorer with a short-handed goal at 12:09 of the first period. Erik Alden responded with a power play at 2:23 of the first to tie the score.
The teams again traded goals in the second stanza with Anthony Delong scoring twice for the Rebels and James Sorey and Max Mois scoring for Nelson.
Brewer got the game winner for Castlegar at 12:18 of the third period on a nice feed from Arthur Andrews.
“Arthur made a nice pass and I just took the puck and went wide on the defenceman and cut in and went short side,” said Brewer.
Erik Alden with his second of the game and Tyler Robinson scored back to back power play markers to give the Rebs some insurance.
Alex Ross was between the pipes for Castlegar and saved 24 of 27 Leaf shots.
“It came down to just simplifying our game and just working hard,” said Junker. “We tried to put their team under a bit more pressure than we did on Friday. Friday we just were over-thinking the game. On Saturday, we got back to basics and hard work and that allowed us to be more successful.”
Delong picked up the game’s first star, while Alden was named second star. Nelson’s Colton Malmsten was selected third star.
The Rebels have a pair of games this weekend. The team plays in Grand Forks Friday night and then hosts Kelowna on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Castlegar Community Complex.
Rebel Rousing –
The Rebel players were out in force Sunday morning at the Castlegar Complex for the annual Terry Fox Run.
Despite having played the night before, the players and coach Steve Junker eagerly participated in the fundraising event. “I think it’s important for a great cause number one, and at the same time it’s a great event in the community for us to be a part of and at the same time my guys get a bit of a workout as well,” said Junker. “It’s a win, win, win.”