The rivalry between the Nelson Leafs and the Castlegar Rebels heated up on Friday night.
The Rebels came into the Leafs’ home rink and skated away with a 3-1 victory.
Much like last weekend’s contest, a 1-1 tie between the two squads, Nelson carried much of the play throughout the game.
Nolan Percival opened the scoring for the Leafs, but Castlegar’s Mike Bhatoa tied it at 1-1 before the end of the first.
In the second, despite being out shot, the Rebels took a 2-1 lead thanks to a goal by Cal Owens.
That was all the scoring until the last minute of the third when Lindan Calliou hit the empty net to make the final 3-1.
Rebels netminder Patrick Zubick was strong in the nets again, allowing one goal on 32 shots. At the other end of the ice, Nelson’s Adam Maida stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced.
Play in the third period got a little out of hand as the squads began to take liberties with each other.
As a result, six players were given misconducts in the third after several fights broke out.
Nelson’s Rayce Miller and the Rebels’ Tyler Bryant each received 10 minute misconducts, while Darnel St. Pierre and Austin Lindsay (Nelson) along with Dawson Haines and Daniel Petten (Castlegar) received game misconducts.
After the game, Leafs coach Dave McLellan said his squad carried the play, but just couldn’t score.
“For us, again, I thought we outplayed them tonight. We just didn’t capitalize on our scoring chances there and the third period just turned into a farce.”
The game overall was an intense match up, but play wasn’t chippy.
“I think when they (refs) lose control of the game, that’s what happens. I mean we get our goaltender sprayed and it ends up being an even up call at best, that’s just what happens. It turned chippy after that,” said McLellan.
As it has been so far this season, scoring was lacking for the Leafs.
“No matter how you break it down, as good as we are defensively, you have to score a few to win.”
On the other bench, Rebels coach Jesse Dorrans was happy with his squad’s effort.
“We played a little more consistent than last weekend,” he said.
The coach said his squad worked on a few things this week and came to Nelson ready to execute.
“And I think we did a good job of that tonight”
He also got another stellar performance from his goaltender.
“Hey if you want to win hockey games you need a good goaltender, but you also need a good one, two punch and I got all the faith in ours.”
The Rebels play three games in three nights, including a Sunday game against the same Nelson Leafs.
Could the rivalry get even hotter?
“I’ve been in the league for 10 years now and every time we play Nelson it’s always a fierce rivalry,” said Dorrans.