Nelson survives series against pesky Rebels, off to provincials in Smithers

first_imgBy Bruce FuhrThe Nelson Daily SportsNelson is going to the B.C. Hockey Tier III Bantam Rep Championship tournament next month in Smithers.Which is really no surprise considering how the Leafs owned the Castlegar Rebels during the regular season.However, this playoff series was far from a walk in the park for the Leafs as the Rebels played Nelson tough in all three games losing the first-team-to-four-points series 5-1.“It feels great to be going (to Smithers),” said Nelson defenceman Tyler Podgorenko from outside the winner’s dressing room. “We’ve come a long way since the start of the season and worked through that entire game so this feels really good.”The Leafs clinched the West Kootenay title by rallying from a 3-0 deficit to steal a 5-4 victory Sunday before a boisterous crowd at the NDCC Arena.Sawyer Hunt scored the winning goal at 37 seconds of the third period, and Brayden Pompu made some key saves in the final minutes to power the home side to the series clinching victory.“I let in a few bad goals I shouldn’t have let in but then after that I got some help from our goalie coach (Ian Perreault) . . . he’s an amazing goalie coach who’s helped me all year and he helped me get a lot of confidence at the end,” a beaming Pompu, who had a key kick save in the final minutes of the third period to preserve the win, told The Nelson Daily.Chase Butula got the scoring started for Castlegar before Edward Lindsey and Craig Pilla gave the visitors the three-goal advantage at the first intermission.But Nelson rebounded in the second, scoring two goals in two minutes. Sam Weber got the Leafs going before Brandon Sookro cut the margin to 3-2. Nolan Percival tied the game at the midway point of the period.“I don’t know what happened,” said Nelson captain Colton Dachwitz. “(Castlegar) just came out on fire and we just didn’t come out as hard as they did.”“(But) we never gave up,” Dachwitz, making his fourth trip to a provincial tournament. “We got re-focused in the dressing room and that helped us get back in the game in the second.”Castlegar regained the lead when Nick Evdokimoff beat Pompu but Dachwitz tied the game before the period ended.In the third Hunt pounced on a loose puck to score the game-winning goal.“We just wanted to get it deep and buy time,” Dachwitz said when asked about the strategy in the third period. “We knew their goalie was letting out a lot of rebounds so we just wanted to capitalize on them.”Nelson had a chance to increase the lead but Percival missed a penalty shot and Hunt saw the puck roll of his stick while staring at a wide-open net.Nelson opened the series with a 9-3 victory Friday in game one. Trailing 3-2 after one period, the Leafs out scored the Rebels 7-1.Sam Weber led the Leafs with two goals while Brandon Sookro had a goal and two assists.Saturday, Castlegar forced a third game after rallying from a 6-3 deficit to grab a 7-7 tie.Michael Viala scored three times and Grayson Reitmeyer added a pair to lead the Nelson offence. Dylan Whiffen and Hunt added singles.The comeback point proved to Castlegar coach Grant Pilla the drive his team displayed in the playoffs.“Coming in we were the underdogs as Nelson has a pretty strong team but my guys peaked at the right time,” Pilla explained. “They decided they didn’t want to finish the season without leaving it all on the ice . . .. “And I’m proud of them . . . I’ve very proud of them for the way the played.”ICE CHIPS: Nelson played without key forward Michael Viala, who was suspended for Sunday’s game after receiving a misconduct in the final 10 minutes of the third period of Saturday’s 7-7 tie. . . . Nelson defenceman Carson Arcuri injured his leg in the series. . . .During Friday’s game there was more action off the ice than on the ice as parents from both teams exchanged words. Some parents needed to be removed from the [email protected]last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *