The Castlegar Rebels won their first playoff game against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Friday night.
The Rebels came out swinging with Tanner Costa scoring the first goal of the game only 30 seconds in, assisted by Dallas Goodwin.
But the Nitehawks’ Kevan McBean, assisted by Dylan Kent and Dylan Heppler, quickly tied things up.
The two teams battled throughout the period and in the final minute, Shawn Campbell, assisted by Tanner Costa and Brandon Costa, put the Rebels back in the lead, ending the period 2-1.
But the Nitehawks’ Jaxen Gemmell, assisted by Aiden Jenner and Conner Seib, tied things up again early in the second and it was once again Campbell, assisted by Tanner Costa and Dallas Goodwin, who put his team back in the lead.
The Rebels fought to control the puck in the second half of the second period and in with 3:18 on the clock Reid Wilson, assisted by Chris Breese, found the net and sent the Rebels into the third with a two-goal lead.
Both teams kept up their hustle in the third and the Nitehawks found the net first.
Jake Yuris, assisted by Bradley Ross and Tommy McConnachie, closed the gap with a goal that made it 4-3 for the Rebels, but then Edward Lindsey scored an unassisted goal, making it 5-3.
Shortly aftward Chase Daniels took two minutes for slashing and it looked like the Nitehawks might have been able to hold on, but the Rebels killed the penalty and then won the game.
Rebels head coach and general manager Bill Rotheisler was pleased with the outcome.
“I thought we outplayed them all three periods and, I hate to burn a cliché here, but we really stuck to our game plan and no matter how hard it was to [not] veer off, we stuck with it,” he said. “And it shows how hard you have to work, for how long just to get a slight edge on the scoreboard.”
Rotheisler also said that the Rebels know the Nitehawks will be better on Saturday, “so we still have to find a way to be better tomorrow.”
He said that the things the team went over in its video of the Nitehawks and the things the Rebels needed to do to counter Beaver Valley went well.
“Our forecheck was on point,” he said. “We felt like our D zone was kind of off and on. Maybe not as tight as we would have liked it at times.”
Rotheisler also gave the Nitehawks credit for their defence.
“They’re good defensively, they’re good in their own zone and they’re tight,” he said. “They keep you to the outside, but they’re strong and heavy in front of their house and with teams like that, once you get it in the house, you’ve got to give that puck an opportunity.”
The coach was also pleased that his team won the first game on home ice.
“You never want to give up one at home because that’s the advantage. So the moment you’ve lost a game at home you’ve neutralized the advantage. It’s important and last year we didn’t win our first game at home,” he said. “For guys that were here last year, we really want to prove that we learned our lesson. Last year we went left at the fork and we want to prove to everyone and each other that we’re taking the other direction. We’re going to go right at that fork and we’re going to have a better start.”
The Rebels play the Nitehawks on home ice once again on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.