FRUITVALE — The Castlegar Rebels are tied 2-2 in the first round playoff series against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks after a loss at the Beaver Valley Arena on Tuesday.
Despite starting the first period with a team penalty for a warm-up violation, things initially looked good for the Rebels.
They killed the penalty and then Chase Daniels, assisted by Ed Lindsey and Brandon Costa, scored the first goal of the game only a couple of minutes in.
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The Nitehawks’ Kevan McBean, assisted by Sam Swanson and Jaxen Gemmell, tied things up a few minutes later with a shot from just behind the blue line, but then Bradley Ross took two minutes for hooking mid-period and Vince Bitonti, assisted by Chris Breese and Brady Daniels, scored on the power play.
In the last five minutes of the first, Scott Rademaker took a game misconduct and a five-minute penalty for head contact against the Nitehawks’ Angus Amadio, while Beaver Valley’s Evan Gorman took two minutes for cross-checking.
Before the Rebels’ penalty had ended the Nitehawks’ Adam Pipe took two minutes for holding and both teams ended the period with a player in the box.
Things went bad for the Rebels in the second.
After the first 13 seconds, the Rebels found themselves on a brief power play and Tanner Costa, assisted by Ren Mason and Jordan Wood, took the opportunity to give his team a two-goal lead.
Not long after the Rebels received a penalty shot, but Liam Coulter saved Chase Daniels’ shot.
Wood took a four-minute penalty for spearing shortly after, but then Swanson took two minutes for slashing, interrupting the Nitehawks’ power play. Thirty-six seconds later, Beaver Valley was back on the power play after Bitonti took two minutes for slashing and Gemmell, assisted by Dylan Kent and Dylan Heppler, scored, making the score 3-2 for the Rebels.
Seconds later, still on a power play, Nolan Percival, assisted by Swanson and Gemmell, tied things up for the Nitehawks.
On a roll, the Nitehawks counted the fourth goal a little over a minute later — scored by Christian Macasso and assisted by Simon Nemethy and Tommy McConnachie — and took the lead.
Then Beaver Valley’s Aidon Browell, assisted by Swanson and Percival, deked out Tanner Douglas to score the Nitehawks’ fifth goal of the night.
Percival, assisted by Heppler and McBean, scored the Nitehawks’ sixth goal after Shawn Campbell took two minutes for kneeing.
The Rebels took one more penalty after the whistle at the end of the second after Douglas hit one of the Nitehawks as teams were leaving the ice.
Douglas took two minutes for interference at the start of the third, served by Kirkland Spencer, and Curt Doyle was put in net.
The Nitehawks’ McBean, assisted by Browell and Gemmell, scored on the power play, giving the Nitehawk’s a four-goal lead.
Mason got the Rebels back in the game with an unassisted goal soon after and then Brandon Costa, assisted by Campbell and Chase Daniels, scored again.
Later in the period Lindsey, assisted by Mason and Reid Wilson, scored again.
Down one, the Rebels fought to keep the puck in the Nitehawks’ zone. Calling a timeout with one minute left on the clock, they pulled Doyle, but it wasn’t enough and the Rebels lost 7-6.
Bill Rotheisler, head coach and general manager for the Rebels, was not happy about the officiating.
“It’s the worst officiating I’ve seen since I started coaching,” he said. “It was blatantly biased stuff. There was stuff that was being made up. There was Vince’s slash, Jordan Wood’s spear… Jordan hasn’t hurt a fly in his life and he’s going to call him four minutes for spearing. The five-minute major, the guy comes up to Rade [Scott Rademaker] and he gives Rade the five-minute major. If their guy doesn’t engage with us, all Rademaker did was push back from being pushed. Then, they slew foot and they get two minutes, so I just don’t understand where that balance is.
“I’m flabbergasted,” he added. “I’m proud of the way our guys played and there’s not much else that they could have done. They’ve done a good job of not saying stuff to the refs. Right from that first penalty, which was objectively wrong, to phantom slashes to phantom butt-ends.”
Rotheisler contested the warm-up violation penalty the Rebels received at the beginning of the game, as it was Beaver Valley who had the last player on the ice following the buzzer.
“All guys have to be off of the ice by the buzzer and if they’re not they get a penalty. Beaver Valley should have had the penalty and they gave the penalty to us to start the game, which was a theme we saw throughout the whole night,” said Rotheisler. “I don’t know what to do in that scenario. When an objective situation happens, like a time count, and you try to argue with somebody that it didn’t happen that way, what do you do?”
Asked if there was any recourse for the Rebels, the coach said, “We’re going to send an email and everything, but the league hasn’t always supported us on that.”
Rotheisler also wasn’t happy about the call against Douglas.
“Tanner didn’t make an effort to get out of the way, but he’s the goaltender, and the two of them bump into each other and we get the only penalty,” he said.
After a frustrating game, two of the Rebels’ players took out their feelings on each other.
“They’re passionate, and obviously that’s something we’ll deal with internally,” said Rotheisler. “The one guy is a passionate guy and he’s going to tell you how he feels. But we have a brotherhood in here as well and they get over things quickly. It’s no different than your own family squabbles sometimes. At the end of the day, we all mend up pretty nicely.”
Overall, Rotheisler was happy with the way his team played, if not with the way the game went.
“We were really happy with our game. We did everything we could. Anybody who saw the game understands. I’ve never seen a game like that,” he said.
Game 5 is in Castlegar, Thursday at 7 p.m. and Game 6 is Friday at 7:30 p.m. back in Fruitvale — giving the Rebels one day to recharge.
“Luckily we have a day off,” said Rotheisler. “We’ll probably keep it pretty loose and go over some video. There were things we could have done better, so we’re going to take a look at that and make sure… we need to be the better team and if we have to beat the refs and Beaver Valley than that’s what we’ve got to be prepared to do”