One of the better rivalries in the KIJHL opens another chapter tonight in Nelson as the Rebels pay a visit to the Leafs (7:00, NDCC Arena). It's been a fairly one-sided season series this year though: Castlegar has won all 5 meetings between the two teams, most recently dispatching the Leafs 9-0 in the first game after the Christmas break.
Castlegar will get a couple of key offensive contributors back tonight as Ryan Aynsley and Spencer Brodt return from suspension. The team has had no trouble finding the back of the net without them, though. Take for instance, the fact that Anthony DeLong, Mike Wiest and Tyler Robinson have combined for 21 points in the Rebels' past three games.
Last Meeting: It seems like ages ago, but it's been less than a month since the Rebels got back to work with that aforementioned 9-0 win on December 29th. AP callup Jesse Knowler had 4 points, including the game-winner, while Alex Ross and Cole Buckley combined for the shutout.
Our Opponent: The Leafs (22-17-0-3, 3rd Neil Murdoch division) appear set in their current position in the division standings, 8 points behind Beaver Valley and 8 points ahead of Spokane. Nelson is without leading scorer Gavin Currie, who has started skating again, and number one goaltender Darren Hogg, meaning Marcus Beesley should get the nod again in goal tonight. Currie's production has been supplanted nicely by Dustin Johnson. The former BCHL sniper has 7 goals in 8 games with the Leafs. Given the penalty minute totals of some Leafs (Taylor O'Neil and Colten Malmsten are #4 and #5 in the KIJHL with 232 and 222 PIMs respectively), it may not come as a shock that Nelson is the most penalized team in the KIJHL.
Broadcast Info: Join myself and my Mountain FM/103.5 the Bridge colleague Matt Soper for the webcast tonight at 7:00.
Fri. Jan. 28 @ Kimberley, 6:30 Pacific
Sat. Jan. 29 vs. Princeton, 7:30 PM
Sun. Jan. 30 @ Spokane, 2:00 PM
Tue. Feb. 1 vs. Beaver Valley, 7:30 PM
Fri. Feb. 4 @ Nelson, 7:00 PM
Bits & Bites: Former Braves F Tyler Mort has found a new home a bit further east down I-90. He's skating with the NORPAC's Missoula Maulers. Beaver Valley has signed ex-Vernon Viper and Victoria Grizzlies defenseman Taylor Love, while North Okanagan has inked fellow Californian Mateja Leko. The Rebels first playoff game will be on February 14th, if the standings stay static it will be a rematch from last year against Spokane.
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