The Castlegar Rebels, currently the hottest team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, closed in the Murdoch Division lead Saturday night in the Sunflower City by winning for the sixth consecutive time.
Chris Breese scored twice and Curt Doyle stopped 22 of 23 shots sparking the Rebels to a 4-1 victory over division-leading Nelson Leafs.
The win was the second in as many games for the Rebels over their West Kootenay rivals.
Last week, the Rebels dumped Nelson 5-1 in the Heritage City to outscore the Leafs 9-2 in the two games.
For most of the season it’s been the Leafs using a stingy defence, combined with the KIJHL’s top netminder, Josh Williams, to smother the offence of opponents.
However, for the second straight game it was Nelson Minor Hockey grad Curt Doyle providing solid goaltending to thwart his hometown team.
Doyle blocked 12 of 13 shots in the opening period to backstop the Rebels to a 2-1 advantage.
John Moeller and Breese sandwiched goals around Leafs center Jack Karran to give Castlegar the early lead.
The 6’1” Doyle then stoned the Leafs offence for the remaining 40 minutes, getting insurance markers from Ed Lindsey and Breese, to secure the victory.
Nelson outshot the Rebels 36-23.
Williams, who was pulled from the game with 15 minutes remaining in the third period in favour of Sam Burford, suffered only his third loss of the season.
Nelson, dropping to 19-5-1-0-1, leads Castlegar by four points in Murdoch Division standings.
Nelson sits tied for Kimberley Dynamiters in KIJHL overall standings.
LEAFS BANTER: Nelson lost both team captain Sawyer Hunt and defenceman Zach Morey during the game. Hunt was ejected for checking-from-behind four minutes into the third period while Morey was tossed from the game during an altercation at the end of the second period. Morey received a game misconduct while Chris Breese of the Rebels was whistled for a two-minute unsportsmanlike penalty. The Leafs were also issued a 10-minute team penalty with 67 seconds remaining in the third period. . . . Nelson, missing defenceman Dash Thompson due to injury and Logan Wullum to suspension, started the game with only 15 skaters after adding a roster spot Thursday before the BC Hockey deadline with the trade of Ryan Keilty to Kimberleyin return for player development fee . . . . Nelson continues play against Murdoch Division teams as the Green and White travels to Fruitvale Friday to face Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Saturday, the Leafs host Grand Forks Border Bruins.