Brandon Sookro of the Nelson Leafs attempts to put the puck past Castlegar Rebels goaltender Nate Rabbitt during KIJHL action on Wednesday night. The Rebels beat the Leafs 6-5 in double overtime.

Rebels defeat Leafs 6-5 in double overtime

Nelson let a 3-0 first period lead slip away as the Castlegar Rebels came back to win the game 6-5 in double overtime.

After losing to the Nelson Leafs 9-0 last Friday night, the Castlegar Rebels returned to the Nelson and District Community Complex on Wednesday, looking for revenge.

And that’s exactly what they got as the Rebels defeated the Leafs 6-5 in double overtime.

Early in the game it appeared that it would be another blowout. Three first period goals by Nelson, one by Linden Horswill and two by Travis Wellman, gave the home team a 3-0 lead.

But Castlegar managed to get one back, thanks to Aaron Petten, before the end of the first.

In the second, the Leafs allowed the Rebels to stay in the game and the Castlegar squad kept chipping at the lead.

Two straight goals, one by Connor Beauchemin and one by Darren Medeiros, pulled the Rebels even with the Leafs, 3-3, after two periods.

The third was a wild one as both squads went on end to end rushes.

Nelson took a 4-3 lead when Alec Wilkinson bulged the twine for the locals, but once again the Rebels battled back.

Derek Georgopoulos tied the game at four and then Diego Bartlett gave Castlegar its first lead of the game.

With less than four minutes to play in the final frame, league-leading scorer Jamie Vlanich put the game into overtime with a nice goal on a scramble in front of the net.

Neither squad could score in the first, four-on-four, overtime period. In the second five minutes of extra time, now playing three-on-three, the Rebels Aaron Brewer played the hero, beating Leafs netminder Brad Rebagliati to win the game.

Nate Rabbitt picked up the win for Castlegar.

After the game, Leafs coach Frank Maida said his squad allowed the Rebels to get back in the game.

“We gave them a few opportunities in the second period and they took advantage of it. They got momentum and the rest is history,” he said.

Defensively, the Leafs had a few breakdowns during the game.

“’We had a couple of turnovers on the blueline and they took advantage of it,” said Maida.

As for the overtime winner, the coach said there wasn’t a lot his team could do to prevent it.

“They (Castlegar) won the draw and he made a good shot. It never should have gone into overtime.”

He said his team has to continue to work on its consistency and play a 60 minute game.

While the game itself was not the result he was looking for, Leafs forward Travis Wellman had a strong individual effort scoring two goals and adding an assist.

“I had three points, but it’s not really the individual stats that matter. Down the stretch here, it’s more about coming together as a team winning games and getting rolling for the playoffs so we can go on a long run,” said Wellman.

He believes the second period cost the Leafs the game.

“I think we just had a couple of mental lapses there and probably didn’t play the best game we could have in the second period,” said Wellman.

He believes the squad just needs to get mentally prepared for their next game on Saturday night.

The Leafs will host the Fernie Ghostriders on February 1. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

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