A crazy bounce that landed on Dane Rupert's stick proved to be all the Nelson Leafs needed yesterday as they won Game 3 4-2 over the Fernie Ghostriders. Early in the third period, the puck took a strange carom off the end boards, bouncing to the front of the net where Rupert was waiting to tap it past a startled Jason Greenwell. Chris Cucullu added a pair for Nelson, who also got a goal from Cody Abbey. Josh Garneau and Tim Crawley replied for Fernie, who have now lost two straight games after going undefeated in their first nine playoff contests. Game 4 goes tonight (7:00 PM) at the NDCC.
I'm told Nelson mayor John Dooley has made a friendly wager with the mayor of Fernie as well. The loser will be forced to wear the opposing team's sweater to a city council meeting.
The winner of the Nelson/Fernie series moves on to play the Revelstoke Grizzlies. They swept the Princeton Posse in the Okanagan Conference final. The Grizzlies feature two players who spent time in Castlegar this year, Luke Richardson and Ben Bula. The former was traded for Dylan Richardson on October 8th of last year while Bula was shipped to Revy at the trade deadline.
Finally, some rumours that were further substantiated on Gregg Drinnan's blog this morning. I read last week that the Chase Chiefs are on the verge of being sold and moved to Kelowna to play out of Rutland Arena. According to Drinnan though, the rumours are true, as a pair of Kelowna residents have made a pitch to buy the team from Fred Pittendreigh. The main stumbling block though, is the fact Bruce Hamilton, governor, president and GM of the WHL's Kelowna Rockets has veto rights. That's right, his deal with Prospera Place includes a clause that states the Rockets have to approve any moves into any other building in Kelowna, including Rutland Arena. Personally, I find it hard to believe the Rockets could seriously be threatened at the gate by a KIJHL team, particularly when they've managed to maintain such a stellar attendance record since moving from Tacoma in 1995. I guess we'll wait and see...