Little consolation for Castlegar Rebels

The KIJHL champion Castlegar Rebels were eliminated from contention after heartbreaking back-to-back losses at the Cyclone Taylor Cup.

Castlegar Rebels #17-Darren Medeiros is denied by Kings goalie Michael Hails Thursday

Castlegar Rebels #17-Darren Medeiros is denied by Kings goalie Michael Hails Thursday

The Castlegar Rebels run at the Cyclone Taylor Cup came to a close Saturday as the undefeated Richmond Sockeyes eked out a 3-2 victory over the KIJHL champs to relegate them to the consolation match Sunday.

The Sockeyes jumped out into a 3-0 lead heading into the third when a Castlegar rally came up short.

Brayden Horcoff got the Rebels on the board at 12:29 of the final frame, and Stuart Walton would cut the lead to one with just 21 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Rebels couldn’t find the equalizer in the waning seconds.

The Rebels outshot the Sockeyes 30-23, including 14 shots in the second period, and went 0-for-6 on the power play, but despite the edge in play, the Castlegar offence could not finish.

The Rebels opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over the Comox Valley Glacier Kings before dropping a 1-0 thriller to the Vancouver Island champion, Victoria Cougars, on Friday. Coincidentally, it was a former Trail Smoke Eater that cut short the Rebels hopes. Brandon Egli, who played the full 2010-11 campaign and the beginning of this season in Trail, netted the lone goal of the game beating Rebel’s goalie Jordan Gluck at 5:47 of the second period.

“Really, both games came down to not finishing goal-scoring chances,” Rebels coach Steve Junker told the Castlegar News’ Marvin Beatty after the Victoria loss. “In game one, we didn’t play our best hockey and gave up a number of opportunities that the Glacier Kings weren’t able to capitalize on. Connor Beauchamp played great [in game one] and eventually we capitalized and got stronger as that game went on.”

It is the second year in a row the Cougars have made it to the final and after losing to the Abbotsford Pilots 3-2 in a double-overtime game last year, it’s certain they will be hungry for some Sockeye.

However, in the opening game of this year’s tournament, Richmond dominated Victoria, allowing just 12 shots on net in a convincing 5-2 victory, then went on to a 6-2 win over Comox before taking out the Rebels 3-2 Saturday.

The Cougars (2-1) advanced with a 6-1 victory late Saturday night over Island runner-up and host Comox Valley (0-3) on two goals and two assists from Brody Coulter and a goal and assist from Sam Rice.

The Sockeyes, the Pacific Junior League champions, are looking for a fifth Cyclone Taylor Cup to go with past titles from 2009, 2004, 2003 and 1992.

“Tonight, again, we gave up a number of opportunities. Jordan Gluck played and was outstanding. It was really similar to what happened with the other team last night. We had some open nets that we just couldn’t find the back of the net on.”

The Rebels play the Glacier Kings Sunday for the bronze medal game, while the Cougars and Sockeyes collide for the Cyclone Taylor Cup at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The winner wins a berth to the Keystone Cup Western Canadian championship Apr. 17-21 in St. Malo, Man.