A five-goal first period outburst paced the Castlegar Rebels to a 6-2 win over Beaver Valley Friday night in Game 1 of the KIJHL Neil Murdoch division final.
It all started just 28 seconds into the game when Stuart Walton put a rebound past Hawks goaltender Mike Vlanich.
After a Tyler Collins equalizer four minutes later, Jamie Vlanich put home a crisp centering pass from Jesse Knowler to give the Rebels a lead they would not relinquish.
Erik Wentzel, Diego Bartlett and Knowler would add goals before the first period was over, chasing the Hawks netminder after 20 minutes.
Captain Taylor Anderson and Nitehawk rookie sensation Dallas Calvin traded tallies the rest of the way as Castlegar took a 1-0 series lead.
Goaltender Cole Buckley made 18 saves for his third consecutive victory for Castlegar, while Vlanich was tagged with the loss even though backup Zach Perehudoff played 40 of the game’s 60 minutes.
The Rebels’ penalty killing was stellar, as Beaver Valley went 0-for-7 on the power play including two 5-on-3 advantages.
A season-high crowd of 585 took in the series opener, with another large crowd expected for Saturday’s Game 2 (7:30 p.m., Complex).
The series will then shift to Fruitvale for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday night.