After defeating the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in a grueling seven game series, the Castlegar Rebels had an easier time of it against Golden, as they won 4-0 and 7-1 in its opening matches of the Kootenay Conference final on the weekend.
In Saturday’s match, Trail native Jamie Vlanich netted the winning goal at 4:08 of the first period as the Rebels dominated the Rockets outshooting them 19-8 and taking a 4-0 lead into the middle frame.
Vlanich has eight goals and nine assists in 14 games and shares the team scoring lead with the Rebels’ Stuart Walton each with 17 points. The 19-year-old forward is third overall in playoff scoring behind Beaver Valley Nitehawk Ryan Edwards, first with 26 points, and Osoyoos Coyote and Fruitvale native Garrett Kucher, 20 points.
Former Nitehawk netminder Cody Boekman took over for Jamie Leonard between the pipes and Golden was able to generate some offensive pressure on the Rebels only to be consistently denied by goalie Jordan Gluck.
The Rockets outshot Castlegar 27-16 through the final two periods but could only manage a shorthanded goal by Josh Jewel with 59 seconds remaining in the second to make it 5-1.
Travis Wellman led the way for the Rebels scoring twice and adding an assist for a three-point night, while Aaron Brewer, Ryan Osteroff, Bryan Lubin, and Walton rounded out the scoring for the Rebels.
In other KIJHL action, Kucher had another big night for the Osoyoos Coyotes scoring two goals and adding an assist as the Coyotes defeated the North Okanagan Knights Friday 6-2. However, the Knights would bounce back on Saturday with a 5-1 victory to even the Okanagan-Shushwap Conference final.