Back home after a long day on the bus, as Castlegar swept the weekend with a 4-2 win in Spokane over the Braves.
With the win, the Rebels clinch their first division title since 1996, and will have home-ice advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs, which as of today begin with a home date on Valentine's Day against Spokane.
Curtis Pereverzoff opened the scoring 4 minutes into the game, but A.J. King stuffed a loose puck home and moments later Tanner Slarks ripped a wrist shot past Rebels 'tender Cole Buckley to give the home side a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.
Castlegar would answer back courtesy of Diego Bartlett early in the second, as he received a pretty cross-ice pass from Taylor Anderson to find the back of the Braves net and tie the score. Ryan Aynsley would put Castlegar ahead for good with just over 5 minutes left in the frame. He put a shot from the right side through Braves goalie Garrett Barr while on the power-play, and just over a minute later a Tyler Jones worm-burner from the point would extend the lead to two.
Although there was no scoring in the third, the final frame was not without its key moments. Slarks jumped Rebels forward Arthur Andrews at the 10:55 mark, earning the pair automatic one-game suspensions. Later in the period, Josh McGladery struck King in the visor with his stick, earning a major penalty, game misconduct, and almost certainly a multi-game suspension, despite referee Steve Fleming needing the assistance of his linesmen to make the call.
In the Press Box: Castlegar was without defencemen Mike Wiest and Corbin Legros. Spokane, in addition to head coach Mike Bay, was missing forwards Ryan Hadley-Schaal and Guisseppe Dippolito (suspensions), forward Mitch Fowler (injury) and defenceman Jacob Walsh (sick). A source tells me brothers Jacob and Jeremiah Holmes have left the team and returned to California, they both did not dress for any of Spokane's three games this weekend.
Out of Town: Beaver Valley swept their two game set with Nelson with a 6-5 win at the HawksNest, while Princeton edged Grand Forks 6-4.
Suspension Watch: In addition to the three Spokane suspensions mentioned above, a couple of infractions to report. Grand Forks d-man Brendan Jackson served the first of his three-game ban today, for a multi-fight and game misconducts, while Kelowna defenseman Branden Redschlag sat out the first of his two-game punishment today for a check from behind in the final ten minutes.
Tip of the Hat: to Braves broadcast director Vince Hughes and play-by-play man Rick Edwards, thanks kindly for the opportunity to work the game today. I had a lot of fun, and I hope those of you who tuned in this afternoon enjoyed the webcast as well. Can't wait for the playoffs!