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Nelson Bantams overcome slow start to take two from Castlegar

By Bruce Fuhr
The Nelson Daily Sports

The Nelson Bantam Reps shook off some holiday rust to grab two of three games from rival Castlegar in West Kootenay Minor Hockey League action during the weekend.

After falling 5-4 to the Sunflower City squad Friday, the Reps outscored the opposition 17-6 to win the three-game set 2-1.

“We had not played in a game since December 19th and seemed that the kids were simply rusty,” Nelson coach Jeff Hunt told The Nelson Daily. “That coupled with a lacklustre effort made us doomed to lose.”

Trailing 3-2 after two periods, the Castlegar Reps scored twice in the third to eek out a one-goal victory, with Edward Lindsay netting the winner.

“In fairness to Castlegar they competed hard and showed a lot of passion  — something that was missing on our team  — and deserved to win,” Hunt confessed.

However, once Nelson shook off the rust, the Heritage City team showed who was boss.

Nelson scored seven times in 40 minutes en route to the 9-4 shellacking Saturday. Sunday, Nelson once again jumped out to the early first period lead, scoring three times in the opening frame, to blast Castlegar 8-2.

Nolan Percival and Brandon Sookro each scored twice to lead the Reps past Castlegar Sunday.

Saturday, Percival had the hat trick while Sookro chipped in with a pair to pace the Nelson Reps.

“Saturday and Sunday were quite different,” Hunt explaining the obvious. “We competed hard and we had great performances from key players . . . including most significantly Dylan Whiffen who doesn't always hit the score sheet a great deal.

“And our best offensive players were at their best.”

“We also challenged Castlegar's strong physical presence — emotionally and physically it was a dramatic shift from Friday,” Hunt added.

The series win was especially important for the Reps as Castlegar stands in Nelson’s way to gaining a spot in the AA Provincials in Smithers.

The playoffs begin February 7.

This weekend Nelson entertains Spokane in a pair of games Friday, 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, 1:45 p.m. at the Civic Centre Arena.

Sunday the Reps rekindle the rivalry in the Sunflower City, facing Castlegar at 2:30 p.m. in the Pioneer Arena.