(Castlegar leads series 2-1)
Let's not mince words, tonight's game could make or break the Kootenay Conference final.
After a hotly-contested Game Three that featured a call that could well be debated until the year 2111, the Rebels and Ghostriders get back to work tonight in front of what's anticipated to be another large crowd at the Complex.
"Walton-gate" aside, Thursday's Game 3 was the most evenly-matched game of the series. Both teams controlled the play at times, Castlegar was able to surmount a two-goal deficit, and even though the Ghostriders left the West Kootenay with a sour taste in their mouths, you know they'll be back with a vengeance this evening.
For Castlegar, though, the message is simple. A win tonight would give the Rebels the chance to close out the series Monday night. A loss would breathe new life into Fernie and send the series back to the Elk Valley all square at 2-2.
Broadcast Info: As always, we'll have the webcast at 7:30 Pacific time. You can also catch this one on 99.1 The Drive in Fernie.
Goal Or No Goal? I think everyone can agree on one thing, and that's the fact that video replay would have solved everything. Pointing to evidence like the referee's position, Stuart Walton's delayed celebration or the placement of the puck on the ice after the shot is unfortunately moot now. It's unfortunate the game had to be decided on that particular play, but at this point I think it would do the 'Riders more harm than good to dwell on it. I don't blame the Rebels players for celebrating once a goal had been signaled, and I also think the referee is an easy scapegoat, as far away as he was from the play. Could he have made a mistake? Absolutely. Did the 'Riders have every right to be upset? Absolutely, I hearken back to a called goal in Nelson earlier this season that (despite lacking the inherent playoff atmosphere) had the Rebels players and coaches just as infuriated. But the best thing to do now (for both teams) is to move on, and focus on tonight's Game 4.
Out of Town: Revelstoke and Osoyoos play Game 5 of the Okanagan final tonight in the Desert, it's all square at 2 games apiece.
Coaching Carousel: Word came out yesterday that Columbia Valley has parted ways with bench boss Rob Rice, read more here. Princeton's Twitter is reporting that head coach Dale Hladun is also on the verge of signing a multi-year extension.