Part two of Castlegar's weekend trilogy goes tonight at the Complex as the Rebels and Princeton Posse meet for the only time this season.
Castlegar could mathematically clinch the Neil Murdoch division tonight, but they'll need some help to do it. Should the Rebels defeat Princeton, and Nelson wins at home to Beaver Valley tonight, the Rebels will win their first division crown since the 1995-96 season, which was also the year the franchise won its third and final KIJHL championship.
The team looks like they've bounced back after a miserable night in Nelson earlier this week. The Rebels peppered Kimberley's net with 49 shots in last night's 5-3 win. The line of Anthony DeLong, Stuart Walton and Tyler Robinson was flying, as evidenced by DeLong's two-point night.
Last Meeting: These two clubs don't meet often. Ryan Aynsley scored twice in a 3-1 Rebel win on Dec. 11, 2009 in Princeton, but you have to go back to October of 2008 for the Posse's last visit to the Castlegar Complex.
Our Opponent: Princeton (14-24-3-3, 3rd Okanagan division) has had a week to prepare for this one, but with only 17 skaters on their active roster, could field a short bench for tonight's affair. Spencer Kristensen leads the way offensively with 43 points, while overagers Derrick Delisser and Nick Cecconi are hot on his tail with 38 and 36 respectively. With the departure of defenceman Lee Muir (I'm told he's the brother of Border Bruins goaltender Garrett Muir), Princeton has lost a fair bit of their offensive pop from the back end. Muir was the only Posse d-man to amass more than 10 points this season. Though Brett Patchett has been given the brunt of the workload, don't be surprised if 18 year-old rookie Sky Buller gets the start in goal tonight. He sits 7th among KIJHL goaltenders with a 2.92 GAA and sports an 8-2 record in 12 appearances.
Broadcast Info: As always, the webcast is available on the KIJHL site. Join me for the call beginning at 7:30.
In the Press Box: Both Curtis Pereverzoff and Aaron Brewer returned to the lineup last night; Pereverzoff had missed 7 games while Brewer stayed in civvies Tuesday night. Corbin Legros was the only scratch yesterday, and with a mostly healthy lineup, it looks like the odd man out will be a game-time decision.
Out of Town: An important affair for Rebel supporters is taking place up the road in Nelson, as mentioned earlier. Beaver Valley and Nelson will almost certainly meet in the first round (Nelson clinched third place last night), they'll play a home-and-home this evening (7:00, NDCC) and tomorrow afternoon in Fruitvale. The Rebels' next opponent, Spokane, is home to the Golden Rockets tonight (7:30, Eagles Ice-A-Rena). Princeton's first-round opponent, the Kelowna Chiefs, are in Grand Forks tonight (7:30, GF Arena) in game two of the post-Jesse Dorrans era in the Boundary.
AP Watch: Chiefs defenseman Bobby Brown dressed last night for the Quesnel Millionaires in their 4-3 loss in Trail. Alex Milhouse (FER) and Tye Sanford (REV) also skated for the Prince George Spruce Kings in their 5-4 overtime loss at Vernon, while Osoyoos' 16 year-old sensation Carter Rigby has accompanied Penticton on their Island road swing.
Bits & Bites: Former Rebel Adam Smith scored his first BCHL goal last night in Cowichan Valley's OT 7-6 loss at Powell River. Teammate Matt Ridley, who played twelve games in Castlegar earlier this season, added two tallies for the Capitals, while former Border Bruin Chad Niddery had 4 points for the Kings. A tip of the cap to Dynamiters goalie Wes McLeod, who I thought stood in well as Kimberley's colour commentator last night.