Friday, October 29, 2010

Rebels 3 Ghostriders 1

Ryan Aynsley scored all three Rebel goals as they picked up their second straight win over the Fernie Ghostriders, this one by a score of 3-1. Aynsley scored a pair of power-play markers in the first period, and added an empty-netter late to seal Castlegar's 13th win of the season. Aynsley's goal tally is now up to 17 in only 15 games played. Judging by the game summary, goaltender Andrew Walton was also strong, making 37 saves on a night that saw Fernie score only once on 10 power-play opportunities.

With the win, Castlegar sits only 3 points behind Fernie for first in the Kootenay Conference. The Rebels also have a game in hand.

Up Next: A week between games for the Rebels, but they'll be on home ice twice next weekend, beginning Saturday, November 6th against the Kimberley Dynamiters. The team will be on hand at the Brick tomorrow (according to the coach) to help out at AM Ford's "Drive One For The Rebels" fundraiser. See the post below for details on the event.

Gameday: Rebels @ Ghostriders

The Rebels head to arguably the toughest rink in the KIJHL to win in tonight when they visit the Fernie Ghostriders (6:30 Pacific, Fernie Memorial Arena). It's the second meeting in 6 days between the two clubs, with the Rebels having squeaked out a 4-3 overtime win last Saturday night in dramatic fashion.

Castlegar will have a friendly face back in the lineup tonight. Spencer Brodt returns after serving a four-game suspension. No word yet, though, on who will take his place in the press box tonight.

Our Opponent: Despite the loss to the Rebels Saturday, Fernie remains top dog in the Kootenay Conference. They whipped Columbia Valley 5-1 on Tuesday night in Invermere, and are undefeated at home so far this season. Thomas Abenante and Scott Morisseau, two vets with West Kootenay lineage, are the offensive leaders for the 'Riders, but I was impressed with the play of Californian Alex Milhouse last weekend as well. The team received word yesterday they will not get Brendan and Bond Hawryluk back for the rest of the season as they've been signed by Powell River of the BCHL. The Kings play-by-play man has more here.

Broadcast Info: Fernie's crew will have the pay-per-view, beginning at 6:30 Pacific time.

Next 5:
Sat. 11/06 vs. Kimberley, 7:30 PM
Sun. 11/07 vs. Golden, 2:00 PM
Fri. 11/12 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Sat. 11/13 vs. Creston Valley, 7:30 PM
Fri. 11/19 vs. Kamloops, 7:30 PM

Out of Town:
Nelson is the only Neil Murdoch division team to have the night off tonight. Beaver Valley makes a rare visit to Kimberley, while Spokane is in Grand Forks.

Drive One For The Rebels: AM Ford and the Rebels are teaming up tomorrow for a fundraiser at The Brick in Castlegar. For everyone who test-drives a Ford vehicle there tomorrow, Ford Canada will donate a sum of money to the team, with a maximum total donation of $6,000. It's a great opportunity for the team to make some cash, and previous fundraisers for the Smoke Eaters and Beaver Valley Nitehawks have both been successful. If you're in the Castlegar area tomorrow, be sure to get out there. Mountain FM will be on location all day as well, I'm hoping to make it down for an hour or two in the afternoon once my news duties are complete.

Bits & Bites: Grand Forks has picked up two 18-year olds, snagging defensemen Cody Larsen and Derek Grimm from Revelstoke for futures. Larsen, however, is listed as out indefinitely with mono.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekend Audio

At long last, some reaction to the wins over Spokane and Fernie.

To listen to Ryan Aynsley following Friday's game, click here.

To listen to Taylor Anderson after his two-goal performance Friday night, click here.

For Steve Junker's thoughts on the win against Fernie, click here.

Roster Shuffles: Some interesting changes made over the past few days. Beaver Valley put forward Bryan Hinchcliffe on reserve. You may remember he incurred a suspension after an incident against the Revelstoke Grizzlies earlier this month. Columbia Valley has signed goaltender Tyler Stamler. He spent last season with Grand Forks. Creston Valley, meanwhile, put forward Robbie Stuckey on reserve. He notched 58 points in 108 games as a Thunder Cat. The Fernie Ghostriders have also put Bond and Brendan Hawryluk on reserve. They were both conspicuously absent Saturday night, as they were in Salmon Arm with the BCHL's Powell River Kings. They're both still listed as APs with the Kings, however.

Expansion News: A group out of 100 Mile House has officially applied for a KIJHL expansion franchise, joining groups from Summerland and Chase interested in gaining access to the league as early as next year. A KIJHL meeting will be held on November 7th where we'll hear not only the name of the new club in Chase (which has been approved), but also whether or not the governors of the league want to expand by more than one team next season.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rebels 4 Ghostriders 3 (OT)

What. A. Thriller.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first 8:20 tonight, the Rebels found a way to win, defeating the Fernie Ghostriders 4-3 in overtime in front of a raucous crowd at the Complex. Taylor Anderson scored the OT winner, ripping a wrist shot from the top of the circle past 'Riders goaltender Fraser Abdallah. Anthony DeLong, Erik Wentzel, and Ryan Aynsley all scored for the Rebels, Aynsley on a breakaway minutes after missing the net on a penalty shot. Scott Morisseau, Alex Milhouse and Thomas Abenante replied for Fernie.

It's a victory that months from now we could look back on as a season-defining win. The team gutted it out after facing some early adversity, and goaltender Andrew Walton was, in a word, outstanding between the pipes, robbing several Ghostriders on point-blank chances. All in all, hard to imagine any of the 300+ fans at the game went away feeling as though they didn't get their money's worth.

Injury Update: Fernie lost captain Zach Baba to what looked like a wrist or arm injury midway through the third period. He made his way slowly to the Riders' bench after a collision and did not return.

Up Next: A return engagement with the Ghostriders, this time in Fernie, on Friday night.

Out of Town: Nelson beat Grand Forks 5-2. Beaver Valley dropped a close one in Kamloops, losing 5-4 in overtime. Spokane hammered Columbia Valley 11-1, while the Osoyoos Coyotes look to be on the receiving end of some suspensions in their first-ever regulation loss, 3-0 against Revelstoke. Watch for that in the coming days.

Gameday: Rebels vs. Ghostriders

It's a battle of division leaders tonight as the Rebels (11-3-0) host the high-flying Fernie Ghostriders (13-1-0). Both teams are riding winning streaks: Castlegar's won 3 straight, while Fernie has picked up wins in their last five outings.

Tonight's game could easily be considered the toughest test of the season thus far for the Rebels. An impressive 5-3 win last night against Spokane was the start of a weekend that has been circled on the calendar since the schedule was released in August. The new top line of Ryan Aynsley, Tyler Robinson and Taylor Anderson was terrific last night, figuring in on all five Castlegar goals. The power-play practice over the past two weeks paid off as well, the Rebels went 4/7 with the man advantage last night.

Our Opponent: Fernie has risen to the top of the Eddie Mountain division with ease. The only blemish on their record, a 4-1 loss in Osoyoos on October 3rd. Fernie dismantled an understaffed Kimberley squad 8-3 at home last night, our friends at RiderNews have a write-up here. Offensively, Fernie is led by Trail's Thomas Abenante. He's having a terrific start to the campaign after missing much of last year's Trail Smoke Eaters season with an injury. Castlegar native Scott Morisseau, who led the KIJHL in scoring last year as a Beaver Valley Nitehawk, is another to watch for sure. The 'Riders also boast a trio of Californians who have made a splash in their KIJHL debut seasons: watch for Chase Golightly, Johnny Park and Alex Milhouse to be factors tonight. The goaltending tandem of Fraser Abdallah and Taylor Pears has been unbeatable as well.

In The Press Box: The Rebels will get Adam Smith back tonight, his one-game suspension is complete. Spencer Brodt will sit out the final game of his four-game ban this evening, but should be good to go next Friday night when these two teams do battle in Fernie. The Ghostriders are without forward Jordie Cool, who they acquired from Kelowna in the off-season. He was injured after a check from behind early in the season in a game against Creston Valley.

Broadcast Info: We'll have the webcast tonight on, beginning at 7:30 Pacific time.

AP Watch: 17 year-old Langley product Ben Meadows should figure in the lineup again tonight for Castlegar. I thought his debut last night against Spokane got progressively better as the game went on, and he was rewarded with more minutes in the third period. Head coach Steve Junker rolled 4 defensemen through the middle of the game after Ryan Reid was tossed for fighting. I'm sure the lack of 5 on 5 play through much of the first two and a half periods also prevented Meadows from seeing a regular shift.

Next 5:
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
Sat. 11/13 vs. Creston Valley, 7:30 PM

Out of Town: Every other Neil Murdoch division team is in action in tonight's 8-game KIJHL sked. Nelson hosts Grand Forks (7:00, NDCC Arena), Beaver Valley is at Kamloops, and Spokane welcomes the Columbia Valley Rockies.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rebels 5 Braves 3

Taylor Anderson scored twice, while linemates Tyler Robinson and Ryan Aynsley added singles, as the Rebels defeated the Spokane Braves 5-3 on home ice tonight. Matt Ridley also scored for Castlegar, who went 4/7 on the power-play. Nick Redding, Joel Stewart and Rance Hughes replied for Spokane.

All in all, I thought the Rebels played a good all-round game. Despite falling behind 1-0 early, the team bounced back with two quick (and perhaps lucky) goals, but hard work from the likes of Anderson, Erik Wentzel and Darren Tarasoff (who logged a ton of minutes on the back end) helped secure the win. Andrew Walton was good when called upon in goal.

Up Next: The 13-1 Fernie Ghostriders, tomorrow night (7:30, Complex).

Out of Town: Grand Forks snapped a lengthy losing streak, beating Columbia Valley 5-3. Beaver Valley edged Princeton 5-4 in the Similkameen. Tomorrow's opponent, the Ghostriders, rocked Kimberley 8-3, while Osoyoos remains unbeaten in regulation after beating Kamloops 4-1.

Gameday: Rebels vs. Braves

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

Next 5:
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.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Aynsley Scores in Trail Win

Rebels forward Ryan Aynsley, playing in Trail as an AP last night, scored a power-play goal in the Smoke Eaters' 4-3 overtime win over Alberni Valley. My Mountain FM colleague Jon Zacks has a full write-up on the game here, and interviewed Aynsley after the game (I'll post the audio here or provide a link as the day goes on). The Rebels are back in action tomorrow night at home to the Spokane Braves.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aynsley to Trail (Temporarily)

I'm told by multiple sources that Ryan Aynsley, who signed with the Smoke Eaters as an AP last weekend, will suit up tonight when they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (7:30 PM, Cominco Arena). Aynsley last played in the BCHL in 2008-09 with the Merritt Centennials, scoring 13 points in 27 games. He currently leads the Rebels in scoring with 26 points in 12 games.

Former Rebel Ryan Renz is with the Bulldogs in what is shaping up to be his final year of junior hockey before heading to Northeastern University next year. However, he hasn't played since September 24th after suffering an injury. I haven't been able to wrangle up any details on when he might be back in action.

Bits & Bites: The Osoyoos Coyotes have bolstered their contingent of 16 year-olds by acquiring forward Carter Rigby from the WHL's Prince George Cougars. The Penticton native suited up for the 'Yotes in their 4-1 win at Princeton last night. The Kamloops Storm also bolstered their blueline by signing 20 year-old Kurt Torbohm. He spent the last three years in the WHL with Kamloops and Prince George. RJ Priesser, who left the Spokane Braves after being acquired from Fernie earlier this season, has landed with the NORPAC league's Puget Sound Tomahawks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yet More Audio + Alumni Update

I chatted with head coach Steve Junker on Mountain FM's Overtime last night. He gave me his take on the 5-2 win in Grand Forks as well as a brief look ahead to this weekend's games against Spokane and Fernie. If you missed it, click here to hear the full interview.

Alumni Update: Last year's captain, Gilbert Bilodeau, is skating with Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton. They play in the ACAC circuit, the equivalent of the loop Selkirk College plays in here in BC. Bilodeau is pointless through his first four games for Grant MacEwan, who sit 0-3-1 thus far. One of his teammates is Shannon Szabados, who played for Canada at the 2010 Winter Games and also was the first woman to suit up in a WHL game when she played for the Tri-City Americans.

Bits & Bites: Our two opponents this weekend, the Braves and Ghostriders, both have experienced turnover in goal this season. But their respective starting goaltenders, Jason Greenwell and Cash Ulrich from last season are now teammates at Eastern Washington University, who play in ACHA Div. II. Greenwell of course also suited up as a Brave during his time in the KIJHL, making him and Ulrich two of 7 former Braves currently on the roster. They played an exhibition game against my alma mater, SFU, on October 9th. The Clan won 9-3.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Audio

Some interviews for your listening pleasure from this past weekend.

For Rebels head coach Steve Junker after the 5-1 win over Nelson, click here.

For Rebels forward Erik Wentzel (pictured, photo courtesy Kim Magi of the Castlegar News), click here.

For Spokane Braves head coach Mike Bay after they shut out Nelson 2-0 Saturday, click here.

Bits & Bites: I mentioned over the weekend the number of players that have moved on from last year's Nelson Leafs squad. A reader pointed me to forward Michael Spring, who is playing with Quesnel in the BCHL (by my count, that makes 12). A thirteenth, forward Chris Cucullu, is at Iowa State University, where he skates alongside another former Leaf, Mike Lebler, as well as former Fernie Ghostrider James Werner and ex-Columbia Valley Rockie Scott Ismond. Selkirk College dropped a pair of games at home over the weekend against Okanagan College. Former Rebel Tony Johnston made 35 saves in goal in a 6-1 Crusader win Sunday. His club also won the weekend opener by a 5-2 score Saturday night. Other former KIJHL players on Okanagan College's roster include Brock Munro (Nelson), Aaron Buat (Sicamous), and Craig Materi (Grand Forks). Selkirk plays at the University of the Fraser Valley and SFU this weekend, former Rebel Andrew Shaw is a part of this year's Fraser Valley Cascades squad.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

1 Game for Smith

As expected, the KIJHL wheel of justice has come down on the Rebels after Adam Smith's fight in the last ten minutes last night. He, and Grand Forks defenceman Ryan Schibler each get a one-game suspension as per the league misconduct rule. Fellow forward Stuart Walton served his one-game ban last night, while Spencer Brodt still has two games left on his four-gamer. The Rebels are in action Friday and Saturday at home, against Spokane and Fernie.

Bits & Bites: Glancing around the league rosters, I note former Rebel Corey Bulach has landed on his feet. After parting ways with Kelowna early in the regular season, he's found a home with the North Okanagan Knights. Bulach has 1 assist in 4 games thus far in his tenure in Armstrong.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rebels 5 Border Bruins 2

Another early start for the Rebels (10-3-0) tonight in a 5-2 win over Grand Forks. Dylan Richardson and Taylor Anderson scored in the first 6 minutes, while a pair from Anthony DeLong and a first-period game-winner courtesy of Matt Ridley rounded out the Rebels' scoring. Zach Thompson and Randy Tosoff replied for Grand Forks (1-13-0). Alex Ross, making his first start in October, made 35 saves for the win.

Castlegar were without a whack of players tonight as well. Defenceman Darren Tarasoff did not play, and the club was without forwards Spencer Brodt and Stuart Walton (suspended), as well as leading scorer Ryan Aynsley, who signed as an AP with Trail but did not play in their 3-1 loss at Vernon. The much-maligned misconduct rule will likely strike again after tonight's game. Forward Adam Smith fought in the final ten minutes, meaning he will likely be forced to sit one game.

Up Next:
Another visit from the Spokane Braves, Friday (7:30, Complex).

Out of Town: I worked the Nelson/Spokane game tonight (a 2-0 Braves win on goals by Jesse Collins and Uriah Machuga). It was the first win by Spokane at the NDCC Arena since Feb. 7, 2007 (a stretch of 16 visits). Fernie beat BV 6-5 in overtime, former Hawk Mike Wiest scored the winner.

Gameday: Rebels @ Border Bruins

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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rebels 5 Leafs 1

Erik Wentzel scored 3 times, and could have had a fourth, as the Rebels took care of business in a 5-1 win over the Nelson Leafs at the Complex tonight. Dylan Richardson and Anthony DeLong also scored for Castlegar, while Patrick Martens had the lone Leaf reply. Andrew Walton picked up the win in goal for the Rebels, while Darren Hogg was tagged with the loss. With the win, the Rebels improve to 9-3 on the season, while Nelson falls to 5-7.

I thought the Rebels played a much better team game tonight. They had a quick start thanks to Richardson's goal just over three minutes in, but never afforded Nelson much momentum save the few minutes after Martens' goal. AP callups Jesse Knowler and Riley Ostoforoff both played well; Knowler had lots of power-play time while 15 year-old Ostoforoff logged a lot of minutes on the back end, and added an assist in the place of Tyler Jones, who did not dress.

Up Next: Castlegar takes their show on the road to Grand Forks (7:30, Grand Forks Arena). Stuart Walton could be ruled out as he was involved in a second-fight situation in the third period, when he tangled (and held his own) against Nelson's Colton Malmsten.

Bits & Bites: Uriah Machuga made his Spokane Braves debut (for this season) tonight, his club beat Creston Valley 1-0. Beaver Valley was without forward Dallas Calvin (APed with Trail) in their 6-1 loss at Fernie. Former Hawk Scott Morisseau had a goal for Fernie while teammate (and fellow former Hawk) Thomas Abenante fought BV's Arie Postmus. Grand Forks lost 5-1 at home to Osoyoos, who still haven't lost in regulation. You may have noticed Penticton doesn't have any games scheduled this weekend. That's because the team is in Boston taking part in the annual Beantown Classic tournament. The Lakers (playing as Okanagan Hockey Academy) went 2-1 in their round-robin pool yesterday and today.

Gameday: Rebels vs. Leafs

The third meeting of the season between Castlegar and Nelson goes tonight (7:30, Complex) as the Rebels look to increase their lead atop the Neil Murdoch Division. Castlegar has been idle since this past Saturday, when they beat Beaver Valley 5-2, and are in the midst of a stretch that sees them play 9 of 12 at home. The Rebels will play this weekend without forward Spencer Brodt (see below) who's serving a suspension. The Rebels (8-3-0) sit 2 points ahead of both Beaver Valley and Spokane, and hold games in hand against both.

Last Meeting: The two teams haven't met since September 11th, but the Rebels spoiled Nelson's home opener on that night, winning 5-1. The Rebels lead the season series 2-0.

Our Opponent: Nelson (5-6-0) currently sits 4th in the division, though they're coming on strong. The Leafs won both of their games last weekend, 9-7 over Golden and 2-0 over the Princeton Posse. The Leafs are 1-3 on the road this year, with their only victory away from the NDCC Arena coming in Grand Forks. Offensively, Nelson is led by 20 year-olds Gavin Currie (6-6-12) and Adrian Moyls (3-7-10), though newcomer Marcus Dahl has 8 points in 6 games. The Leafs made a move this week to bolster their blueline, acquiring 19 year-old defenseman Kyle Alexander from the SJHL's Flin Flon Bombers.

In the Press Box: Castlegar's Spencer Brodt will miss tonight's game as he serves the first of his four-game suspension. Brodt received a gross misconduct late in Saturday's win over Beaver Valley.

Next 5:
Sat. 10/16 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/22 vs. Spokane, 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/23 vs. Fernie, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/29 @ Fernie, 6:30 PM (Pacific)
Sat. 11/06 vs. Kimberley, 7:30 PM

Long-Awaited Audio:

To hear Steve Junker on the Brodt suspension, click here.

For Junker on the win over Beaver Valley, click here.

Arthur Andrews talks about the win and his transition to Junior B. To listen, click here.

Out of Town: All 5 Neil Murdoch division teams are in action as part of an 8-game KIJHL sked tonight. Spokane visits the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, Grand Forks gets their first look at the Osoyoos Coyotes, and Beaver Valley renews acquaintances with old friends Scott Morisseau and Thomas Abenante when they visit the Fernie Ghostriders.

Bits & Bites:
Spokane could get forward Uriah Machuga back. He's been released by the BCHL's Trail Smoke Eaters, though he hasn't made a decision on where he'll play this year. Machuga was pointless in 7 games in Trail. Grand Forks goaltender Garrett Muir will miss tonight's game against Osoyoos, he was handed a one-game suspension after receiving a game misconduct at the end of the Border Bruins' 4-1 loss in Spokane last Sunday. As mentioned earlier, Nelson acquired defenseman Kyle Alexander from the SJHL's Flin Flon Bombers this week, but one other KIJHL team played "let's make a deal." Kimberley shipped '93 forward Dylan Lynum to the PIJHL's Mission Icebreakers for futures.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brodt Banned For Four

Rebels forward Spencer Brodt has been suspended for four games after incurring a gross misconduct on Saturday night against Beaver Valley. The incident occurred just shy of the 12-minute mark of the third period, when Brodt was assessed a minor penalty for slashing after a wild scramble in front of the Beaver Valley net.

Brodt will miss this weekend's games against Nelson and Grand Forks, as well as next weekend's matchups against Spokane and Fernie. He's eligible to return when the Rebels visit the Ghostriders on October 29th.

Stay tuned for (long-awaited) audio from Saturday night, as well as coach Steve Junker's take on how the suspension will affect the club.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rebels 5 Nitehawks 2

Even though it was two days ago, Saturday's 5-2 home win over Beaver Valley is surely still resonating with the Rebels. Spencer Brodt's winner in the first minute of the third period was just one of the 5 unanswered goals Castlegar scored after falling behind 2-0 early on. Ryan Aynsley scored twice, Erik Wentzel and Arthur Andrews added singles, and Andrew Walton made 22 saves in goal for the victory.

I've just gotten back into town after leaving for the long weekend right after the game Saturday night. Stay tuned as I'll have more tomorrow, including audio from coach Steve Junker and Andrews.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gameday: Rebels vs. Nitehawks

The Rebels (7-3-0) look to snap a mini two-game losing streak tonight (7:30, Complex), but they'll be in tough against a Beaver Valley (6-4-0) club that is now only two points out of first place. It's the third meeting of the season between the two teams. The season series is tied at 1 win apiece, with each club having posted 5-2 away wins. Castlegar are looking to buck the trend at home as well, they've lost two of their last three at the Complex.

Ryan Aynsley and Anthony DeLong each had three points in the Rebels' last outing, a 4-3 loss last night in Creston. Aynsley, the KIJHL's Kootenay Conference Player of the Month for September, is tied for the league lead in scoring with 23 points, and is also second in the KIJHL in power-play goals with 5. His regular linemate Spencer Brodt returned to action last night after missing 4 games with a knock on his shoulder, but was tossed in the second period after a fight with the Thunder Cats' Colton Meaden.

Last Meeting: The Rebels got goals from 5 different players, and Andrew Walton made 11 saves in goal in a 5-2 win at the Hawksnest on October 1st.

Our Opponent: Beaver Valley is coming off a 3-0 shutout win at home to Nelson last night. Mike Vlanich made 33 saves between the pipes for the shorthanded Nitehawks, who will be without forwards Tyler Collins and Bryan Hinchcliffe (suspensions) after an incident last weekend against Revelstoke. Offensively, the Nitehawks are led by Colton Donselaar and Ryon Sookro who each have nine points (they each had a goal and a helper in last night's win). Alaskan Austin Sture is a giant on the back end as well. The 6-6 18 year-old has 7 points in 8 games as a Hawk this season.

Broadcast Info:
We'll have the webcast at beginning at 7:30.

Out of Town: Nelson takes on Golden in their first home game in two weeks in the only other Neil Murdoch matchup. Revelstoke will look to continue their perfect start in Penticton tonight. The Grizzlies are 10-0.

Next 5:
Fri. 10/15 vs. Nelson, 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/16 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/22 vs. Spokane, 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/23 vs. Fernie, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/29 @ Fernie, 6:30 PM (Pacific)

Alumni Update: The Penticton Vees' Tyler Hlookoff scored his first goal of the season in a 6-4 win over Trail last night. His brother Tanner is also in the news this week, he's signed a try-out agreement with the new Federal Hockey League's Broome County (NY) Barons. Ben Bula has made the jump to Junior A. In three games as a La Ronge Ice Wolf (SJHL), Bula, who split last year between Castlegar and Revelstoke, has 3 assists. La Ronge won the SJHL title last year. See more on that league in Bits & Bites below.

Bits & Bites: Fans of the Grand Forks Border Bruins likely won't be seeing any return in this summer's Jake Halderman trade. That's because the player they received from Columbia Valley, defenceman Zach MacLellan, is lighting it up in the SJHL. In 8 games with the Battlefords North Stars, MacLellan has 6 points (2-4). A couple of other players who suited up with Neil Murdoch teams are also having an impact in the Prairies. Zak Majkowski (Beaver Valley) has already tallied 11 points in 10 games as a Yorkton Terrier, and Chase Wharton (Spokane) has 3 goals on the back end for the Humboldt Broncos. A former Creston Valley Thunder Cat, Sean Maktaak, could be on the sidelines for a while after his role in a line brawl last night in Salmon Arm. Brian Wiebe of Making Cents has a comprehensive breakdown (including video) here. A couple (more) trades by the Fernie Ghostriders: they sent goaltender Stephen Wolff to Oceanside (VIJHL) in exchange for 19 year-old Conner Morgan. They also sent the playing rights of Ross Fox to the Strathmore Wheatland Kings of Alberta's Heritage Junior B League.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thunder Cats 4 Rebels 3

Ryan Hewitt scored the eventual game winner on a power-play 5:44 into the third period, and the Creston Valley Thunder Cats withstood a 41-shot barrage to sneak past the Castlegar Rebels 4-3 tonight at the Johnny Bucyk Arena. Travis Ludwar put home a pair for the winners, while Ryan Aynsley, Anthony DeLong and Arthur Andrews tallied for the Rebels. Andrew Walton made 17 saves in goal for Castlegar, who have not won in Creston since January 5, 2008 (a 12-5 victory that saw Brent Lucente lead the way with five points).

Rough Stuff
: Forward Spencer Brodt was tossed 4:13 into the second period after scrapping with Creston's Colton Meaden. Rookie Adam Smith was also booked for being the third man in.

Up Next: A home tilt with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Saturday night (7:30, Complex).

Out of Town: Beaver Valley shut out Nelson 3-0 and, with a win tomorrow, could hold a share of the Neil Murdoch division lead. Other Neil Murdoch Division scores were not available at the time of writing.

Gameday: Rebels @ Thunder Cats

It's a short hop over the Salmo-Creston, as the Castlegar Rebels make their only trip to Creston tonight (7:30, John Bucyk Arena). The Rebels have had 4 days of practice to learn from last Saturday's 5-3 loss against Spokane, and they'll surely face a test in both of their weekend games against Creston and Beaver Valley. Castlegar still leads the Neil Murdoch division with a 7-2 record and are undefeated in 3 road appearances thus far.

Our Opponent: Creston Valley is another veteran-laden team, with 6 of their top 7 scorers being either 19 or 20 year-olds. The Thunder Cats (5-4-0, 2nd Eddie Mountain Division), are led by a pair of Calgarians, Ryan Hewitt and Scott Swiston, while 20 year-old Travis Ludwar has scored 70 career KIJHL goals. The Rebels could see a vaguely familiar face in goal: Arizona product Ryan Garber is the number one tendy in Creston, he of course spent last year in Grand Forks and was a late cut of the BCHL's Merritt Centennials this season. The Thunder Cats are second only to Kamloops in terms of penalty minutes assessed. They've racked up 356 already this year, though Castlegar isn't far behind with 328. Creston Valley has won 4 of their last 6 games, including a 2-1 overtime win in Golden last Saturday.

Broadcast Info: Our friends in Creston will have the webcast beginning at 7:30.

Next 5:
Sat. 10/09 vs. Beaver Valley, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/15 vs. Nelson, 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/16 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/22 vs. Spokane, 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/23 vs. Fernie, 7:30 PM

Out of Town: After a few off days for everyone, there are 7 other games on the Friday KIJHL schedule. Every other Neil Murdoch division team is in action, most notably Nelson visiting Beaver Valley. Spokane hosts the Kimberley Dynamiters while Grand Forks welcomes the Golden Rockets.

Bits & Bites
: One trade to pass along: North Okanagan shipped 19 year-old forward Quinn Gallacher to Kelowna for futures. The Lake Country native had a goal in two appearances with the Knights this season. Kelowna is unveiling a third jersey tonight in their game against Osoyoos. My guess is something red, but we'll have to wait and see!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Aynsley Named Player of the Month

Rebels forward Ryan Aynsley is the Kootenay Conference Player of the Month for September. He currently sits tied for the KIJHL scoring lead with 20 points (9-11), and is averaging 2.2 points per game through 9 contests so far this season. Aynsley also led the Rebels in scoring last season with 76 points. He joins Sicamous forward Brandon Formosa, who is September's Player of the Month from the Okanagan Conference. Congrats Ryan!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Junker, Bay on Spokane Game

For your listening pleasure, I tracked down both coaches after Saturday night's 5-3 win by the Spokane Braves over the Rebels.

I spoke with Braves head coach Mike Bay after the game Saturday, hear his thoughts here.

I also chatted with Steve Junker this morning, hear that interview here.

Bits & Bites: The KIJHL handed down 5 suspensions stemming from the Beaver Valley/Revelstoke tilt on Saturday night. Forwards Tyler Collins and Bryan Hinchcliffe will sit out three and four games respectively for the Nitehawks. Cody Larsen's been suspended for three games and his Grizzlies teammates Derek Grimm and Braeden Monk will miss a game apiece. Fernie Ghostrider Cale Wright was delivered a three-game ban in a separate incident that occurred on the weekend as well. The Penticton Herald reported last week that Lakers goaltender Adam Harris has joined the BCHL's Quesnel Millionaires.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Braves 5 Rebels 3

Jesse Collins and Rance Hughes scored in the opening fourty seconds, and the teams traded goals the rest of the way as Spokane spoiled Castlegar's "Pink Power Play" with a 5-3 win at the Complex. Mitch Fowler, Joel Stewart and Thomas McNevin also scored for Spokane, while Tyler Robinson, Taylor Anderson and Stuart Walton replied for Castlegar.

Tonight's game reminded me a lot of last season, and by that I mean there were tons of penalties, numerous post-whistle scrums but also plenty of big hits. Discipline, however, reared its ugly head as the Rebels took 4 misconduct penalties and handed the Braves 10 power-plays. A casual observer would have mistaken much of the game for overtime with the sheer amount of 4 on 4 play.

To me, Castlegar looked rattled after the two early goals, and struggled to regain composure the rest of the way. There were bright moments: Robinson's goal was the result of two pretty dekes by Matt Ridley, and Darren Tarasoff hit Hughes with enough force in the second period to knock his visor clean off his helmet.

Kudos to all the fans who showed up tonight, and stuck around until the end despite the unfortunate result. There were smatterings of pink visible in the stands as part of tomorrow's Run for the Cure, and the fans were loud and supportive when the Rebels tried to mount a comeback from a 4-1 deficit late in the second and early in the third.

Injury News: Rebels forward Spencer Brodt sat this one out again as he nurses a bruised shoulder. Braves defenceman Tanner Slarks left the game in the first period after being hit hard by Ryan Aynsley. He suffered what appeared to be a leg injury, and was walking with a bit of a limp in the hallway after the game.

The Roundup: as far as the Neil Murdoch standings are concerned, the Rebels are still in good shape. Beaver Valley lost 8-5 at home to Revelstoke and are still 4 points out of first place. Osoyoos continued their hot start tonight with an 8-1 win over Sicamous. Kelowna lost 4-2 to Fernie at home: attendance is listed at 204 on a night when the Rockets didn't play (admittedly, the Westside Warriors did, but they drew under 1,000 in their 9-1 win over Trail).

Up Next: the Rebels get their first look at the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Friday, October 8th. Creston has a 5-4 record thus far and sit in 2nd place in the Eddie Mountain division. Former Grand Forks tender Ryan Garber is their starting goaltender.

Bits & Bites: one interleague trade to clarify, another to announce. We were told Fernie had traded defenceman Dean Wilson to the Southern Oregon Spartans of the NORPAC circuit, however the PIJHL website shows he's been shipped to the Squamish Wolfpack. Columbia Valley sent 19 year-old defenceman Darcy Rail to Squamish as well. Selkirk College lost a pair of games this weekend against Thompson Rivers University by scores of 4-1 and 11-1. I took in the third period of this afternoon's tilt. Former Golden Rocket Travis Herlein scored Selkirk's only goal yesterday.

Gameday: Rebels vs. Braves

Fresh off last night's win over the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, the Rebels get right back to work against the Spokane Braves tonight (7:30, Complex). Last time we saw Spokane here, it was Game 5 of last year's first-round playoff series; a 5-3 Spokane win paced by a Dylan Tappe hat-trick gave the Washingtonians a 3-2 series lead en route to a Game 6 win on home ice.

The Rebels were impressive last night in Fruitvale, scoring 4 third-period goals on route to a 5-2 win that saw them relinquish only 13 shots on goal. Andrew Walton made his return to the lineup and made 11 saves.

Pink Power Play: The Rebels will be wearing pink skate laces and using pink stick tape in what they're calling the "Pink Power Play" in support of the fight against breast cancer. The colorful addition to their uniforms is also in concert with tomorrow morning's CIBC Run for the Cure, which begins at the Complex at 10:00.

Last Meeting:
Tonight's game is the second meeting between the two teams. Ryan Aynsley's third-period tally lifted the Rebels a 4-3 win at Eagles Ice-A-Rena last Sunday. As with all the Rebels' divisional opponents, they face Spokane a total of 8 times this season.

Our Opponent: Several familiar faces have left the Spokane Braves since last they visited. Gone are offensive focal points Tappe, Uriah Machuga, Chip Petrino and Jake Peterson, while the defense corps no longer includes the likes of Matt Tyson and Chase Wharton. Goaltender Cash Ulrich is also gone. That said, these Braves don't lack punch. Rance Hughes and Mitch Fowler lead the way offensively with 5 goals each (a game summary from last night's 5-2 loss to Revelstoke hadn't been posted to the KIJHL website at time of writing), and super-pest Joel Stewart has already racked up 38 PIMs in 5 games.

In the Press Box: I spoke with Rebels forward Spencer Brodt at the game in Beaver Valley last night, he says he'll be back in the lineup "hopefully tonight." Tyler Robinson has served his two-game suspension and should dress. Spokane will be without promising 16 year-old Nick Farmer, who's nursing a broken arm and will be lost for several more weeks.

Broadcast Info: We'll have the pay-per-view webcast at tonight beginning at 7:30.

Next 5:
Fri. 10/08 @ Creston Valley, 6:30 PM
Sat. 10/09 vs. Beaver Valley, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/15 vs. Nelson, 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/16 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/23 vs. Spokane, 7:30 PM

Out of Town: Only one other game involving a Neil Murdoch division team, as Beaver Valley welcomes the Revelstoke Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are one of two still-undefeated teams in the KIJHL, Fernie being the other.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rebels 5 Nitehawks 2

Despite falling behind 2-1 early in the third period, the Castlegar Rebels scored 4 times in the final frame to defeat the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 5-2 in Fruitvale. Darren Tarasoff's goal midway through the third period broke a 2-2 tie, while Ryan Aynsley, Dylan Richardson, Taylor Anderson and Stuart Walton chipped in with singles. Andrew Walton, in his return to the lineup, stopped 11 of the 13 shots the Nitehawks put at him.

The Rebels are back in action tomorrow night for their "Pink PowerPlay" against the Spokane Braves. The team will use pink stick tape and pink skate laces to show their support in the fight against breast cancer. Hope to see you all at the Complex tomorrow night at 7:30.

Gameday: Rebels @ Nitehawks

**2:30 PM -- Updated with Coach's Corner**

The Rebels and Nitehawks tangle for the second time in a week, this time in Fruitvale (7:30, Beaver Valley Arena). It's a chance for Castlegar to redeem themselves against a Beaver Valley club that has handed them their only loss of the season thus far, and if that game was anything to go by, there will be no love lost between these two clubs tonight. The Rebels are coming off a 7-0 win Tuesday night against Grand Forks; Ryan Aynsley scored 6 points while Alex Ross picked up the shutout.

Last Meeting: Beaver Valley rode the strength of 5 unanswered goals, 4 of them on the power-play last Saturday night in Castlegar in a 5-2 win. The turning point of the game was an incident in the second period. Rebels forward Adam Smith took out Nitehawk goaltender Mike Vlanich and was promptly pounced upon by four Nitehawks. Both Smith and BV forward Tyler Collins were tossed, and though the Rebels scored on the ensuing power-play, the Nitehawks came together as a team in the second half of the game.

In the Press Box:
forward Tyler Robinson will sit this one out as he serves the final game of his 2-game suspension. We'll see if forward Spencer Brodt returns to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday.

Coach's Corner: taking the reins from Steve Junker behind the bench tonight is assistant coach Topher Plonka. Junker is in Cranbrook at a coaching clinic and due to a scheduling conflict, won't be at tonight's game. I chatted with Plonka about tonight's contest, hear that interview here.

Our Opponent:
Beaver Valley could have two new faces in the lineup. According to our friends at RiderNews in Fernie, they've acquired a pair of forwards, Keanan Patershuk and Mason Spear from the Riders in separate deals. Spear spent last season with the Kimberley Dynamiters, while Patershuk has recently been cut from Trail. Beaver Valley hasn't played since Sunday, when they beat Grand Forks 3-1 at home.

Who's Hot: Castlegar comes in with 2 players in the top 10 in the KIJHL in scoring. Aynsley leads the circuit with 18 points in 7 games (8-10), while Erik Wentzel sits 9th with 10 points (6-4). The Nitehawks are led offensively by Ryon Sookro and Colton Donselaar (who each have 6 points). They both scored in last weekend's meeting.

Broadcast Info: BV will supply the webcast tonight, puck drop is at 7:30.

Next 5:
Sat. 10/02 vs. Spokane, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/08 @ Creston Valley, 6:30 PM
Sat. 10/09 vs. Beaver Valley, 7:30 PM
Fri. 10/15 vs. Nelson, 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/16 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM

Out of Town: This matchup is one of 8 on the KIJHL schedule, and only Nelson has the night off in the Neil Murdoch division. Grand Forks is home to the undefeated Fernie Ghostriders, while Spokane welcomes the similarly undefeated Revelstoke Grizzlies. Spokane (3-5) is in Castlegar tomorrow night.