first_imgAfter going winless to open the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season and having their coach suspended, most experts may have written off the Castlegar Rebels until the franchise could stabilize the ship.However, the Sunflower City squad jumped right back into the Murdoch Division picture by posting a pair of wins over rivals Beaver Valley and Nelson.Saturday, the Rebels found just enough scoring to go with an impressive performance by netminder Jason Maihiot to edge the Leafs 3-2 in KIJHL action at the Castlegar Arena Complex.“I feel the score really didn’t reflect the outcome,” Leaf coach Sean Dooley said when asked about the loss.“We had a couple of bad breaks on some odd-man rushes which seem to what happen during the last half of Friday’s game against Spokane. We were so puck-focused and worried about offence that we seemed to stray away from defensive-side of our game.”Castlegar scored single markers by Daniel Petten and Logan Styler in the opening two periods to take a 2-0 advantage into the third period.Nelson winger Sam Weber cut the lead in half midway through the final period to give the Leafs some life.However, Everett Hicks restored the lead before the Leafs made a final push at the end of the game.Dale Howell made the game interesting by scoring with just over a minute remaining in the game. “We made a push at the end and almost squeezed out a couple of goals, but give it to Castlegar . . .  they came to play and they were the better team last night.”Nelson outshot the Rebels 15-6 in the final period for a 37-29 advantage in the game.The win by Castlegar allows the Rebels to move into a two-way tie for second in the Murdoch Division, a point behind front-running Beaver Valley Nitehawks.Which proves two weeks into the season that no one is going to run away with the division right out of the gates.“Looking at our division, all the teams look like the did a good job in the offseason recruiting and finding players,” Dooley explained. “So trying to gauge the teams, I find no one is a clear leader at this point.”“But it’s still early, and a lot of teams, including us, are still setting their lineup so it really comes down to the second half of the season when the rosters freeze,” Dooley added.After two weeks, Dooley said the roster is healthy no major injuries.Instead, the coaching staff is moving players in and out of the lineup to find the right fit this early in the season.Nelson gets another shot at the Rebels when the Leafs play host to the Sunflower City squad Friday at the 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.Saturday, Nelson travels to Fruitvale to meet the Nitehawks.The Leafs travel to Grand Forks to face the Border Bruins Sunday at 2 p.m.BLUELINES: Leaf coach Mario DiBella missed both games this weekend having to travel out of town due to business. . . . Sawyer Hunt continues to lead the Leafs in scoring with five points. Three players — Kolten Nelson, Sam Weber and Dale Howell — have four points. Drew Carter of Princeton Posse and Mason Jones of Spokane Braves lead the KIJHL in scoring with 11 points. . . .Leaf coach Sean Dooley was pleased with the first game of the season by netminder Ben Kelsch Saturday in Castlegar. Dooley said Kelsch could not be faulted on the goals he surrendered. . . .Nelson Leaf players were out in full force Sunday participating or helping with the Terry Fox Run in Nelson.last_img

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