The Castlegar Rebels (28-12-2-2) get set to play 3 games in 3 days, beginning tonight in Creston (7:30 PM, John Bucyk Arena). It's the second of three meetings between the two teams, with the Rebels having won the opener, 4-3 in overtime (Ryan Reid with the GWG) on December 4th in Castlegar. The Rebels will return home tomorrow to face Spokane (7:30 PM, Castlegar Complex) before hitting the road again for a Sunday afternoon matinee against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks (1:00 PM, Beaver Valley Arena).
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats (25-16-0-4), despite being only a 90-minute drive away, aren't a team we see very frequently. They recently traded away their leading scorer, Joe Densmore, to the VIJHL's Peninsula Panthers. Densmore was good for 44 points in 26 games as a Thunder Cat this season.
The KIJHL site will have the webcast from Creston tonight. Access it by clicking here.
3 of the other 4 teams in the Neil Murdoch division are in action tonight as well. The first-place Nelson Leafs (33-10-2-1) take their road show to Princeton (26-12-0-6) to kick off a 2 game weekend swing. It's the first and only meeting between the two teams, who haven't played each other since November 8, 2008, a game Nelson won 6-5 in overtime. A Leaf win combined with a Rebel loss tonight would clinch the division for Nelson.
Beaver Valley (22-19-1-4) has a tough chore ahead of them tonight. They're in the Elk Valley to take on the best team in the KIJHL, the Fernie Ghostriders (37-7-1-1). The Nitehawks lost in Grand Forks Wednesday night and no doubt will look to bounce back against much stronger competition. Fernie has won 4 straight. It's the second meeting between the two clubs this year, with Beaver Valley having won the first one, 6-3 on October 24th in Fruitvale.
The Grand Forks Border Bruins (5-39-1-1) will look to do something they haven't done since 2006: win 3 straight games. They entertain the Kimberley Dynamiters (22-18-1-4) at Grand Forks Arena tonight. The Nitros are coming off a 3-1 loss in Creston on Tuesday night. It's a home-coming of sorts for Kimberley forward Brennan Romanovitch. The 18 year-old Calgary product was traded by Grand Forks to the Dynamiters on November 7th. The two teams have met once before this season, a 7-3 Kimberley win on October 2nd.
One other note from around the league, the Kamloops Storm signed 19 year-old defenceman Cory Huppe. He started the season with the Golden Rockets (2-3-5 in 30 games), but broke his hand and was released last month. The Storm have definitely been trying to load up as they get set to host the Keystone Cup later this year, and Huppe's acquisition follows moves to snag the likes of Gary Rai and former Kootenay Ice defenceman Jordan Wilkins. The Storm (21-18-0-7) currently sit 5th in the Okanagan Division. Huppe should make his debut tonight when they visit the North Okanagan Knights.
A BCHL note as well, I should be in the booth doing colour commentary tonight as the Trail Smoke Eaters host Salmon Arm (Cominco Arena, 7:30 PM). The BCHL pay-per-view webcast is available here. It'll be interesting to see what Trail brings to the table tonight: they've had 8 days off, some players have finally gotten healthy and I'd bet they're all too willing to forget about the two home losses to Powell River and Langley last week. As always, my Mountain FM colleague Shawn Mullin will be providing the play-by-play descriptions on the webcast.