The Castlegar Rebels faced the Okanagan/Shuswap Division’s Osoyoos Coyotes for the first time this season, in a losing 6-3 effort on Friday, Nov. 1 in Castlegar.
The Coyotes jumped out to a quick start, with centre Aaron Azevedo finding the net twice in the opening 20 minutes. His first goal came on a 3-on-1, roofing a wrist shot over Castlegar starter Patrick Zubick at 13:25.
Rebels forward #22-Kody Disher was handed a 10 min misconduct at 11:46 for a boarding call, temporarily putting the brakes on his return after missing the last five weeks due to injury.
Zubick kept things close with some key saves at crucial times, including two good saves on slap shots while killing a slashing minor to Matt Reed. He made what was perhaps his best save of the night covering all of the net on a 2-on-1 with 4:19 to play in the opening frame.
Azevedo, one of three Coyotes who now have 11 goals this season, fooled Castlegar’s defence with just over three minutes to play in the first, finding the net again from point blank range after picking up his own rebound that clanked off a post.
There was no shortage of whistles going against the Rebels in the first, with Osoyoos enjoying power play opportunities a total of four times to Castlegar’s one. They would have three more before the night was up, but the Rebels shut them down entirely while shorthanded.
The Rebels gained momentum in the second, thanks in part to an early successful penalty kill after#19-Hank Hilts took a cross-checking call with just 13 seconds to play in the first. It’s never good to come out of the dressing room a man down but it seemed to give Castlegar some energy. Chase Reddin was robbed point blank by Osoyoos’ net minder Lawrence Langan and then Diego Bartlett was robbed for a second time on the rebound.
Somehow a floater from Rainer Glimpel found the net from a sharp angle at 16:57 and the Rebels were suddenly in a three-goal deficit.
Not willing to concede, #21-Chase Reddin took advantage just 31 seconds into a power play after Diego Bartlett was hauled down, snapping the shutout and getting the Rebs on the board. In what was poetic justice, Bartlett also picked up an assist on the play.
At 11:03 a nice passing play from #11-Tyler Bryant and #15-Ed Lindsey found #14-Matt Reed cruising in and he made no mistake in pulling the Rebels within one.
The Rebels had a total of five power play opportunities in the second but Langan was solid in net, successfully shutting the door on a 5-on-3 advantage the rebels had for more than a minute.
Reed opened the scoring in the third, tying the game at 17:01 on another nice feed from Bryant, bringing the crowd right back into the game. The pesky Coyotes though, were not to be denied and goals from Troy Maclise (15:06), Luc Gradisar (9:410 and Jackson DeMatos (5:25) sealed the victory for the Okanagan squad.
– Despite the slow start, the rebels outshot the visiting Coyotes 25 – 23.
– Diego Bartlett has 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 12 games, tops on the team.
– Defenceman Brett Leidl had a solid night, picking up an assist on the Rebels first goal. He also made his presence felt with heavy hits all over the ice, drawing a big cheer from the crowd mid-way through the first after levelling Brett Anderson.
– The Rebels are sitting in eight place in the KIJHL with an 8-7-0-3 record, good for 19 points on the season. The Nelson Leafs currently lead the league with a stellar 14 wins, no losses in regulation and 30 points.
– On a busy night in the KIJHL, the Rebels and Coyotes were two of 18 teams in action as the season begins to hit its stride.
– The Rebels have faced numerous injuries in the early going, the most recent coming in Kelowna on Oct. 19 when forward Aaron Petten broke his ankle after crashing into the boards. He’s not expected back until at least the new year.