It wasn’t meant to be.
As soon as the puck dropped on the KIJHL playoffs, the Nelson Junior Leafs coaching staffed stressed to their players how important it was to not dig an early hole. On Thursday night night in Castlegar, the Leafs faced elimination in the Neil Murdoch Division semi-final and once again found themselves playing catch up after the first 20 minutes.
Just under three minutes into the game five match-up, Rebels forward Eric Aiden made the score 1-0 when he beat Nelson starter Andrew Walton.
Three minutes later, Leafs’ veteran Colton Schell knotted the score at ones to give the locals life.
But before the horn went on the first period, goals by Anthony Delong and Kody Disher gave the Rebels a 3-1 lead.
The Rebels never relinquished control of the game on their way to a 4-2 victory.
The Rebels will now play the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the Neil Murdoch final. The Fruitvale-based beat Spokane on Thursday night to take that semi-final 4-1.