Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rebels 4 Nitehawks 2

(Castlegar wins series 4-1)

Off to Round Three, though it wasn't easy.

Aaron Brewer's power-play goal late in the second period proved to be the game-winner as The Rebels won 4-2 to take the Neil Murdoch division final in 5 games.

Spencer Brodt, Ryan Aynsley and Anthony DeLong also scored for Castlegar, who again found themselves behind in the first minute after Colton Donselaar put the visitors ahead.

Ryon Sookro also tallied for BV, who could not fool Rebels goaltender Alex Ross in a third period that had all 578 fans in the Complex on the edge of their seats.

Ross, who had arguably his strongest game of the post-season, was unstoppable, including a robbery of Sookro that moments later turned into a DeLong breakaway insurance marker.

As in Game Four, special teams again played a role in the decision. Castlegar scored three times on the power-play (DeLong's goal being the only even-strength marker), while Beaver Valley tallied on only one of their five power-plays.

Full marks to Beaver Valley for an exciting series; other than Game One every tilt in this year's Neil Murdoch division final was well within reach for either club. The 'Hawks will be back in force next year, their squad had only one overage player (Donselaar) and you can bet this year's playoff run will only make their returning players hungry in 2011-12.

Up Next: Good question. Fernie leads the Creston Valley Thunder Cats 3-2 after a 3-1 Game Five victory tonight. Should the Ghostriders win in 6, I'm told Round Three will start Sunday at the Fernie Memorial Arena, though that (as well as the venue if Creston comes back) could easily change.

Tip of the Hat: to graduating Nitehawk Colton Donselaar. He was a force throughout the series on a top line with Sookro and Chris Derochie, and entertained KIJHL fans just as much as he antagonized KIJHL opponents over the past four years in the league. All the best to you Colton in whatever avenues your hockey career and personal journey take you.

Players of the Month: Castlegar product Scott Morisseau of the Fernie Ghostriders is the Kootenay Conference Player of the Month for February. The accolades just keep rolling in for the two-time KIJHL scoring champ, who was also named the league MVP last week. Jordan Wood of the Kelowna Chiefs is the Okanagan Conference recipient, while defenceman Darren Tarasoff was the Rebels' nominee.

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