A tough loss tonight for the Rebels in Creston. The Thunder Cats managed only 19 shots on goal but rode 3 third period tallies to nip Castlegar 4-1 at John Bucyk Arena. Tyler Robinson with the only Castlegar tally: Travis Ludwar, Scott Swiston, Matt Dixon and Colton Meaden replied for the Cats.
Judging from the summary, it looks like it was a pretty chippy affair. Joel Robinson racked up 29 PIMs for the Rebels.
Stuart Walton and Keagan Little both sat this one out for the Rebels as well. Andrew Walton made 15 saves in the loss.
The Rebels get right back to work tomorrow (Saturday) with a first-round playoff preview. Spokane visits the Complex (7:30 PM) with a firm hold on third place in the division after scoreboard-watching tonight. I'll have a more comprehensive preview up Saturday.
Elsewhere around the league tonight, Nelson clinched first place in the Neil Murdoch divison by beating the Princeton Posse 4-3. Gavin Currie notched the winner with just over 8 minutes left.
Beaver Valley saw their chances of catching Spokane for third place almost disappear. They were doubled up in Fernie tonight 6-3. The Nitehawks now need to run the table while Spokane needs only a point to clinch third and a first-round date with the Rebels. January's Kootenay Conference Player of the Month Jesse Niemi (who APed for the Smoke Eaters this season) had 3 assists for Fernie tonight. The award was announced earlier today, Chase forward Devon Hobbs is this month's POM for the Okanagan Conference.
And in the Boundary, Grand Forks couldn't hold onto a 3-1 third period lead as the Kimberley Dynamiters stormed back with a 6-goal third period to win 7-4. Mason Spear had 4 points for the winners, Zachary Thompson led the Border Bruins with a goal and two assists.
Looking outside the Neil Murdoch division tonight, Sicamous shut out the top team in the Okanagan Division winning 3-0 in Revelstoke. Golden got past Columbia Valley 6-4. Chase snuck past Penticton 3-2 while North Okanagan beat Kamloops 5-4 in Enderby. An interesting race is shaping up now for the final playoff spot in the Okanagan Division. Penticton has 27 points and three games in hand on the Knights, but North Okanagan has been on a bit of a roll, going 4-4-2 in their last 10. The two teams play each other in Armstrong in the final game of the regular season, imagine if a playoff spot were on the line!
I had a chance to see a spirited effort from the Trail Smoke Eaters tonight as they held on to beat Salmon Arm 3-2 at Cominco Arena. Both teams had some ex-KIJHL players in the lineup but notably Trail's AP for the evening, 16 year-old Keenan Patershuk of the Ghostriders, didn't look out of place in his first BCHL game, throwing some hard hits and creating a couple of offensive chances in a limited role tonight. Needless to say it was a big win for Trail, who are battling for the final playoff spot in the Interior Conference and at one point tonight were tied with Prince George, over whom they now enjoy a 2 point lead with two games in hand.