The Castlegar Rebels are one loss away from elimination after a loss in Game 3 against the Nelson Leafs.
The Rebels’ Reid Wilson scored the first goal of the game on an assist from Kirkland Spencer and Scott Rademaker in the first period.
Later, John Moeller took two minutes for tripping and Brady Daniels, assisted by Chase Daniels, managed to score a shorthanded goal on the penalty kill, giving the Rebels a two-point lead.
Towards the end of the period Spencer and the Leafs’ Nicholas Wihak both took penalties after getting into a fight, and shortly after Spencer had made it out of the penalty box Tanner Costa took his place on a two-minute penalty for holding. The call was made after Costa and the Leafs’ David Sanchez collided and both fell to the ice. When Sanchez tried to get up, he got caught on the stick of Costa, who was still struggling to get up.
The Leafs’ opened the second period with an unassisted goal from Sawyer Hunt and then about midway through the period Evan Della Paolera took two minutes for boarding and Jack Karran, assisted by Brendan Makay and Michael LeNoury, scored his team’s second goal, tying the game.
Then Hunt took two for roughing and Brady Daniels, assisted by Edward Lindsey and Chris Breese, put his team back in the lead with a power-play goal.
But the Rebels’ lead was short-lived, as with less than five minutes in the period Vince Bitonti took a penalty for elbowing and Karran scored his second goal of the night, assisted by Wihak and Makay.
Bitonti was back in the box with 21 seconds left on the clock and the Leafs began the third with a power play, but the Rebels killed it.
Brady Daniels scored his second goal of the night off a pass across the front of the net by Lindsey later in the period, putting the Rebels back in the lead.
But the Leafs quickly retaliated with a breakaway goal from Karran — earning him a hat-trick.
Late in the period, the Leafs gained their first lead of the game after Chase Daniels took two minutes for high-sticking with a goal from Logan Wullum, assisted by LeNoury.
Hunt then scored on a breakaway with two minutes left.
Tempers had already been flaring, but things seemed to reach a peak when Breese and Wihak both got called for roughing on the face off.
The Rebels then pulled goaltender Curt Doyle, which opened the door for the Leafs to score two more breakaway goals on the empty net.
Doyle was put back in net, but the damage had been done and the Rebels lost 8-4.
Angus Campbell, assistant coach for the Rebels, was disappointed by the loss, but optimistic.
“Obviously it’s not the outcome we wanted, but that’s why they make the series seven games. Hopefully we can bounce back here, win four straight,” he said.
Campbell said the strategy for the Rebels for Game 4 was to play their game.
“We gotta stick to a game plan, stay disciplined, stay out of the box, really throw everything at the net, try to fill the bucket,” he said.