The Castlegar Rebels defeated the Nelson Leafs in double overtime to take a 2-1 KIJHL playoff series lead on Monday night.
The Rebels didn’t get off to a great start in the first period. They made a couple of giveaways and gave up a very brief 5-on-3 to Nelson when Brandon Costa and Daneel Lategan both took penalties within a little over a minute of one another. Luckily for the Rebels, the Leafs’ Logan Wullum also took a penalty shortly after Lategan and it became a 4-on-3, with the Rebels able to kill the penalty and claim a brief power play of their own.
It was a scoreless period up until the last seven seconds when the Leafs’ Brendan Makay found the net.
The Rebels fought back in the second and for the second time this series, one of the Rebels scored a hat trick. John Moeller scored early in the period, but the Leafs responded with two more goals. Moeller came up with his own response, scoring to close the second with the Rebels down one, and he came back in the third to score his third goal of the game.
Less than two minutes later, Daniel Petten scored a short-handed goal, putting the Rebels in the lead. With a little over half of the period left, the Rebels did their best to try and secure a two-goal lead, but instead the Leafs scored again, tying the game 4-4, and the two teams once again headed into overtime.
When the first overtime period went by without a goal, it looked like fans might be in for another long night, but early into the second overtime period the Rebels received a power play and Logan Styler made the best of it — ending the game 5-4 for the Rebels and sending everyone home before midnight.
“Four periods was a lot last time. It was nice to be able to just end it early and in the second overtime,” said Styler.
Asked how he thinks the series against Nelson is going so far, Styler said, “It’s going pretty good. It’s playoffs, so it’s anybody’s game. It’s always going to be a battle and they’re definitely not quitting on anything and neither are we.”
For his part, assistant coach Jake Postknikoff felt the night’s game went well for both teams.
“Overall it was a great battle for both teams and we came out on top, the stronger team,” he said.
Asked how he felt when he realized the Rebels were once again headed into overtime against the Leafs, Postknikoff said, “We stick to it. I mean ultimately we just stick to what we do best, and you know, at the end of the day everything prevails. And we just mentioning that to the boys and they know it’s all that. It’s their hard work, it’s their effort and they just keep sticking to it.”
The Rebels will play their fourth game of the playoff series against the Leafs in Nelson on Tuesday at 7 p.m.