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Rebels, Aynsley spoil the Civic Centre's 75th Birthday Bash

Rebel netminder Andrew Walton and D-man Erik Alden keep Leaf forward Joel Steward contained during Saturday's KIJHL game at the Civic Centre Arena. —Bruce Fuhr photo

By Bruce Fuhr,
The Nelson Daily Sports

Maybe it’s a good thing the Nelson Leafs don’t play any of their games in the Civic Centre Arena.

Ryan Aynsley rained on the 75th anniversary gala by scoring three times to lead the Castlegar Rebels to a convincing 5-0 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the Leafs Saturday night at the Civic Centre Arena.

The contest was played in former home to the Heritage City franchise as part of a 75th anniversary party to honour the grand old lady.

“This was just an old fashion spanking tonight,” said a beleaguered Leaf coach Chris Shaw, searching for any explanation for Saturday night’s showing.

The loss was the first in six meetings for the Leafs, 7-3 in its last 10 games.

It was evident from the opening face off the Leafs were in tough against the Murdoch Division power. Maybe it was the fact Castlegar was trounced 7-3 Friday in Osoyoos by the Coyotes.

Whatever the reason the Rebels were in an ugly mood and jumped all over the home side, out shooting Nelson 17-4 in the opening frame.

“It was a lot of fun playing in front of a lot of people,” said Aynsley, adding to his KIJHL scoring lead with a Pierre Mcguire four-point Monster Night performance. “We were pumped up too. We knew coming into this rink that it was going to be different for (Nelson) also. We just worked hard and played a simple game and took it from there.”

Despite controlling the play, Aynsley, who made his last game with Castlegar a memorable one, was the only goal scorer of the first period. Aynsley now joins Trail Smoke Eaters of the B.C. Hockey League for the remainder of the junior hockey season.

Castlegar had plenty of chances to increase the lead — especially late in the period when Colton Malmsten wallpapered Rebel forward Diego Bartlett to into the boards. Malmsten was whistled for a five-minute major by referee Mike Page.

During the penalty kill Gavin Currie was hit with a two-minute minor for tripping giving Castlegar a five-on-three advantage.
Nelson weathered the storm to get out of the period.

Castlegar took a 2-0 three minutes into the second when Anthony Delong scored an unassisted marker. Then it was Castlegar’s turn to play undisciplined hockey, earning the visitors six consecutive minor penalties.

However, it was Aynsley that would do the scoring, as the speedy forward out skated Riley Henderson to the puck before snapping a high shot past Marcus Beesley in the Nelson nets.

Nelson had a chance to get back in the game with a two-man advantage late in the period. But Andrew Walton stood tall in the Castlegar nets to deny the Leaf shooters.

“When you have an opportunity on a five-on-three, you’ve got to bury those chances,” Shaw said when asked if this was a turning point in the game. “Especially with the way the momentum was going in the second period.”

“I told the guys the Hockey Gods are looking at us right now and here’s your chance get back into the game . . .. It was a matter of execution and our big guns didn’t executive today,” he added.

Defenceman Erik Alden and Aynsley, with a solo effort in the slot area in front of Beesley, completed the scoring in the third for Castlegar.

Andrew Walton turned aside 12 pucks in the period for a game total of 25 shots as Nelson tried desperately to a least spoil the shutout.

ICE CHIPS: The weekend was not a complete waste for Nelson, which edged Spokane 3-2 in overtime Friday night at the NDCC Arena. Former Braves Joel Stewart scored the winner. . . . Leaf center Gavin Currie has his three-game point streak snapped Saturday. During the three games Currie registered eight points and over a nine-game span had 17 points. . . .Nelson played the contest with only four defenceman as Braeden Hikichi was a game time scratch due to sickness. Forward Brennan Foreman took a few shifts on the blueline in the third period for Nelson. Rearguards Raymond Reimer and Walker Sidoni did not play due to injury. . . . The Leafs continue to struggle against Murdoch Division opponents. Nelson is 7-10 on the season against divisional rivals and has yet to defeat the two powers in the Murdoch, Castlegar and Beaver Valley. Fourth-place Nelson, 15-12, is 8-2 outside the Murdoch. . . .Leaf rookie Adam Wheeldon did not play Saturday after suffering a concussion during Friday’s game against Spokane. Wheeldon, still experiencing headaches Saturday, says he does not remember leaving the ice and expects to be out of the lineup for two to three weeks. . . .Leaf forward Tanner Burns has left the team due to personal reasons. GM Chris Shaw said he will attempt to trade Burns to a team closer to his home in Vernon.

sports@thenelsondaily.com