The Castlegar Rebels look for a weekend sweep tonight when they head over the Paulson to visit the Border Bruins (7:30, Grand Forks Arena). It's the third meeting of the season between the two clubs, with the Rebels having won twice already (by scores of 4-3 and 7-0) in Castlegar.
It's the 3rd of 8 meetings between these two clubs, but the last time the Rebels visited Grand Forks (in regular-season play), it was the Border Bruins that skated away with a win. Both clubs could be short-handed tonight, more on that below.
Our Opponent: Grand Forks is out of the gate slowly with only 1 win in 13 games. However, the Border Bruins are by no means a pushover (their first visit to Castlegar this season being proof of that). Offensively, they're led by Zach Thompson (6-7-13 in 13 GP) and fellow 19 year-old Kevin Wong (4-5-9). Mack Wallace is one to watch on the back end. The 6-4 rearguard has 6 points as a Bruin this year, and doesn't turn 16 until the end of next month! Ryan Ryman has gotten the bulk of the starts in goal, though Garrett Muir returns from suspension tonight.
Last Meeting: September 28th was a night to remember for Ryan Aynsley. He scored a hat-trick in the first period, and added 3 assists later in the game in a 7-0 Rebel win at the Complex.
In the Press Box: The Rebels were without defenseman Tyler Jones last night, and called up 15 year-old Riley Ostoforoff in his place. However, the youngster isn't available for tonight's game as the Kootenay Ice (midgets) are home to Cariboo (5:00 PM, Complex) tonight. Spencer Brodt is serving the second game of his 4-game ban tonight. Stuart Walton is likely out as well after being involved in a multi-fight situation last night against Nelson, however the length of the suspension has not yet been posted to the KIJHL site (for the record, the league discipline guidelines call for a minimum one game, with further discipline for an aggressor. To me, neither Walton nor Colton Malmsten seemed to be an instigator in the scrap). Grand Forks is without Cody Robertson. He's been suspended 1 game as per the new misconduct rule.
Broadcast Info: Grand Forks will take care of the webcast necessaries tonight. Puck drop is at 7:30.
Out of Town: Nelson returns home to play Spokane (I'll be working the webcast tonight for the Leafs as my Mountain FM colleague Matt Soper has a work commitment). Beaver Valley should have Dallas Calvin back tonight against Fernie (he APed for Trail last night, and by all accounts, didn't look out of place centering the Smokies third line). Fernie however, is still without Brendan and Bond Hawryluk. The brothers have been spending the last couple of weekends APing with the BCHL's Powell River Kings. They each have a goal in 3 games played. Kimberley, who we'll see in Castlegar in 3 weeks, whipped Revelstoke 7-3 last night. They're in Armstrong tonight to face my early vote for turnaround team of the year, the North Okanagan Knights.
Bits & Bites: During my prep for last night's Leafs/Rebels game, I tried to count the number of Leaf players from 2009-10 who've moved up to Junior A. Here they are in no particular order. Bennett Hambrook (Prince George BCHL), Jonathan Petrash (Calgary Canucks AJHL), Philip Patenaude (Vernon BCHL) and Brayden Sherbinin (Westside BCHL) are all gone from the blueline. Troy Petrick (Dawson Creek NAHL), Sean Muller (Kenai River NAHL), Gus Correale (Vernon BCHL), Brett McKinnon and Shawn Hochhausen (Westside BCHL) make up a forward contingent, while Billy Faust (Penticton BCHL) and Matt Larose (Trail BCHL) necessitated the Leafs picking up two new goalies this year. Easy to see why a lot of teams in the KIJHL have had "Nelson Envy" over the past few years.