The battle for first in the Neil Murdoch Division continues tonight with the third of eight meetings between the Castlegar Rebels and Spokane Braves (7:30, Complex). The Rebels (10-3-0) sit two points up on Spokane (9-7-0), but have three games in hand. The two teams have split their first two meetings, with each road team winning once.
For the Rebels, it's a chance to build on some positive momentum after two strong showings last weekend. Tonight's game is the first of a tough back-to-back at home (tomorrow's game is against Fernie, who have only lost once in 13 games), but a chance for the Rebels to test themselves to see how they stack up against two strong KIJHL clubs.
Last Meeting: On October 2nd, the Braves got a pair of goals from Jesse Collins and Rance Hughes in the opening minute, and spoiled the Rebels "Pink PowerPlay" with a 5-3 win at the Complex.
Our Opponent: Spokane is red-hot, having won 6 of their past 7 games. 17 year-olds Mitch Fowler and Collins are offensive threats, the latter sits second on the team in scoring with 13 points in only 9 games played. Spokane is a bit thin on defense, generally rolling 5 on the back end, but veterans Tanner Slarks and Brycen Fisher are calm and steady in their own end. 20 year-old Alaskan Garrett Barr had a pair of shutouts last weekend against Creston Valley and Nelson.
In the Press Box: Castlegar will be without forwards Adam Smith and Spencer Brodt (suspensions). Smith is serving a one-gamer while Brodt has two games left on his 4-game ban. The Rebels will dress at least one AP tonight. Spokane forward Joel Stewart (undisclosed) did not play last weekend. I'm told 16 year-old Nick Farmer (arm) is close to returning, he sat in front of me at last Saturday's Braves/Leafs game in Nelson still sporting a cast.
Broadcast Info: Our webcast begins at 7:30 on kijhl.ca.
Sat. 10/23 vs. Fernie, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/29 @ Fernie, 6:30 PM (Pacific)
Sat. 11/06 vs. Kimberley, 7:30 PM
Sun. 11/07 vs. Golden, 2:00 PM
Fri. 11/12 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Out of Town: Nelson is the only KIJHL team with the night off. Grand Forks entertains Columbia Valley in the Boundary, the Border Bruins will be without defenseman Ryan Schibler (who's also suspended after fighting Adam Smith Saturday). The Bruins also put forward Jesse Laird on reserve. Beaver Valley is in Princeton for the first of a three-game in three-day road swing.
Bits & Bites: Kelowna has traded forward David Harrison to Sicamous for futures. Harrison (who has 10 points in 14 games this year) and defenceman Doug Chadwick were both placed on the Chiefs' reserve roster earlier this week. Kimberley will be minus a few bodies tonight when they take on Fernie. This report in Cranbrook's Daily Townsman reads forward Richard Hubscher will AP with the Trail Smoke Eaters this weekend. The Trail connection doesn't stop there: injured forward Ben Greenaway attended Smokies camp this fall, and head coach Garry Jacklin has not only done some scouting for the team, his son Scott is on Trail's top line. Check out this nice story on former Beaver Valley Nitehawk Ray Tremblay and his return to college hockey from a serious back injury.