Castlegar will look to start 2011 the same way they finished 2010 when they visit Beaver Valley this afternoon. The Rebels are riding the momentum of a ten-game winning streak, and have upped their Neil Murdoch division lead over the 'Hawks to 7 points, when a month ago the two were neck and neck.
This afternoon is also a chance for forward Ryan Aynsley to get back on the scoresheet. He had an assist in his return from the Trail Smoke Eaters in Wednesday's blowout win over Nelson. His line, with Erik Wentzel and Anthony DeLong, wasn't dominant in the 9-0 win, but they didn't have to be, as all four lines were dangerous every shift.
Last Meeting: It's been almost a month since these two clubs have locked horns, but it was a one-sided affair back on December 4th. Diego Bartlett scored twice, and Cole Buckley registered the win in his first game as a Rebel in a 9-3 win over a BV team that had several players out sick. Castlegar leads the season series 3-1.
Our Opponent: The Nitehawks can score goals, no doubt, but at times they've had trouble keeping them out of their own net. Terry Jones' crew has legitimate snipers in Ryon Sookro and 16 year-old Dallas Calvin, but suspensions and injuries have slowed the team's impressive run. This afternoon's contest is BV's first since the holiday break. Look for Mike Vlanich (one of three in today's game) to get the start in goal. Alaskan d-man Austin Sture is the club's December player of the month nominee, and he's hard to miss out on the ice, as he stands 6-6.
In the Press Box: No word on whether Spencer Brodt will make his return today, he's been out since picking up a knock December 10th at North Okanagan.
Broadcast Info: the BV crew will pick up the webcast starting at 1:00.
Tue. Jan. 4 @ Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Fri. Jan. 7 @ Golden, 6:30 PM Pacific
Sat. Jan. 8 @ Columbia Valley, 6:30 PM Pacific
Tue. Jan. 18 vs. Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Fri. Jan. 21 @ Spokane, 7:30 PM
Out of Town: One other divisional battle in Spokane this afternoon as the Leafs and Braves conclude a home-and-home. By my count, today's game marks Joel Stewart's return to Washington state, and watch for new acquisition Dustin Johnson to make his Nelson debut as well.