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It came down to one game; a Game 7 rematch of last year’s final, between the Castlegar Rebels and Beaver Valley Nitehawks, the winner would take the Neil Murdoch division title and move on to the Kootenay Conference finale, the loser would go home.
But unlike last year, the Nitehawks came up short bowing to the Rebels 5-4 in double overtime. Ultimatley, it was the Rebels Diego Bartlett who took a pass at the hash mark from Jamie Vlanich and snapped it at the net. Hawks goalie Jarrod Schamerhorn looked to have made the save, but the puck squeezed through his arm, trickling just over the goal line and sending the Castlegar contingent into delirium with 6:29 remaining in the second overtime period.
After a scoreless first period, the Nitehawks jumped out into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Keenan Patershuk and Ryan Edwards just over three minutes into the period. But the Rebels stole the momentum, getting goals from Stuart Walton and Jamie Vlanich to tie it heading into the third.
Yet again, the Hawks owned the opening minutes and after Dallas Calvin roofed a shot over the glove of Rebel goalie Jordan Gluck 73 seconds in, Arie Postmus made it 4-2 on a screen shot from the point just minutes later.
But the persistent Rebels kept coming. Outshooting the Hawks 16-7 in the third period, it was Hunter Jenerou that brought Castlegar within one with a shot from the point that eluded a screened Hawk goalie at 9:57. Then
speedy forward Travis Wellman would feed Brendan Heinrich parked at the top of the crease to tie it at 4-4.
The first overtime period was much of the same, back and forth intensity, with both teams coming close to winning it on numerous occasions. But it would be Bartlett who played hero in the second OT to lift the Rebels to their second Murdoch title in three years.
The recorded shots on goals were 54 by the Rebels and 29 by the Hawks. Castlegar will play Golden for the Kootenay Conference championship starting Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Castlegar Complex.
More coverage of Game 7 in the Friday edition of the Trail Times.