The Castlegar Rebels returned from a 10-day break in play to net two wins over the weekend.
Friday the Rebels were in Grand Forks where they defeated the Border Bruins 6-2 and Saturday they were home where they beat out the Fernie Ghostriders 5-3.
Friday’s game started with a power-play goal for the Rebels early in the first, scored by Shawn Campbell with assistance from Jordan Wood and Scott Rademaker.
Edward Lindsey — sitting fourth in the KIJHL for points — then scored an unassisted goal and Campbell scored a second time, assisted by Chase Daniels and Chris Breese, before the end of the period, leaving the Rebels headed into the second up three.
The Bruins’ Briar Whyte scored a short-handed goal early in the second, assisted by Logan Klatt and Riley Smoler, getting his team on the board.
But midway through the period, Wood scored a power-play goal and the Rebels were once again up three.
The Bruins scored again in the third — Cole Kapak, assisted by Smoler and Whyte — but the Rebels responded with a power-play goal from Reid Wilson, assisted by Breese and Vince Bitonti, and a second goal from Lindsey, assisted by Bitonti and John Moeller.
The Rebels are 6-0 against the Bruins for the season so far.
Saturday’s game started out well for Castlegar but threatened to take a turn.
Wilson scored the first goal of the game, assisted by Campbell and Bitonti, about midway through the first period and then Wood made the best of a powerplay opportunity, assisted by Breese and Bitonti, and the period ended 2-0 Rebels.
The second period saw the Ghostriders fight to get on the board, but they were unsuccessful. The Rebels kept up a good defence and Lindsey scored a third goal for Castlegar, assisted by Bitonti and Rademaker.
But in the third, things started to take a turn.
After Wood took a two-minute penalty for cross-checking, the Ghostriders’ Keelan Saworski, assisted by Dylan Defosse and Mitch Titus, scored a power-play goal and put Fernie on the board.
Soon after, Saworski scored for a second time, assisted by Titus and Mathew Cooper, and then the Rebels’ Tanner Costa took a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and Titus scored a power-play goal, assisted by Jace Woodley and Grayson Neufeld, and tied the game 3-3.
The Rebels struggled to get the game going there way again, but eventually, Lindsey found the net, assisted by Costa and Dallas Goodwin, and Castlegar retook the lead.
The goal turned the tide and Wood scored another goal eight seconds later, assisted by Brady Daniels and Moeller, securing a second-weekend win for the Rebels.
Saturday’s game was the last regular season game the Rebels had scheduled against the Ghostriders. They ended the series 2-1.
Bill Rotheisler, the Rebels’ head coach and general manager, was happy with the team’s progress, especially since they’d headed into the 10-day break on a three-game losing streak.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do obviously, but we weren’t happy. … Our systems really started to unravel for quite a few games, even in our wins and we weren’t happy,” he said. “We used the break to kind of go back to system school.”
Rotheisler felt the weekend’s games showed the Rebels putting what they’d practised to good use.
“Now it’s just a matter of doing it consistently and not taking our foot off the pedal,” he said.
The coach called out Wood and Wilson in particular for stepping up.
“It’s been fun watching their game continue to evolve,” he said.
The Rebels are second in the Neil Murdoch Division, tied at 57 points with the Nelson Leafs, who have played one fewer game than the Rebels.
The Rebels next game is against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at the Castlegar Complex on Friday at 7 p.m.
It’s Castlegar’s last regular season game against Creston Valley and they are 2-0 in the series.