The 2009-10 regular season drew to a close this afternoon in Spokane, as the Rebels staged a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Braves, despite being outshot 55-22 in the game. Keagan Little and Andrew Shaw tallied in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit, and Alex Ross made 53 saves in goal for Castlegar. Tyler Robinson also scored for the Rebels, while all-star Chase Wharton and Jesse Collins replied for Spokane.
The game was, in essence, a playoff preview, but it wasn't without its fair share of controversy. Spokane thought they had a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period, but referee Norm Lochton erased a potential Braves goal after finding there were two pucks on the ice (and the one in the net had, apparently, been lodged in Ross' pads). Castlegar was also faced with a 7-minute stretch of short-handed play after Spencer Brodt was tossed in the third period after receiving a slashing major. Fortunately for the Rebels, Spokane ended up taking themselves off the power-play cutting into their lengthy man-advantage.
The Rebels and Braves will now prepare to face each other in the playoffs, with Game 1 tentatively slated for Friday, February 19th. I'll have a look ahead to that series soon.
Castlegar officially finishes the 2009-10 season with a record of 30-16-2-2 for 64 points. It's a 3-win, 5-point improvement over a year ago, but the team also managed more goals for this season (206 to 185) while giving up fewer as well (141 to 185). Ryan Aynsley will finish second in the KIJHL in scoring with 76 points, (I say will because technically, the regular season ends on Wednesday when Penticton plays North Okanagan). It's the best individual performance for a Rebel since Eric Rockney's 83-point effort in 2007-08, which coincidentally placed him second in the KIJHL scoring race as well. Goaltender Andrew Walton also led the KIJHL in shutouts this season with 6.