Nelson holds onto top spot in the KIJHL

Nelson Junior Leafs forward James Sorrey played hero Sunday afternoon in Spokane when he notched the game winner late in the third period. - Bob Hall photo
Nelson Junior Leafs forward James Sorrey played hero Sunday afternoon in Spokane when he notched the game winner late in the third period.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

The Nelson Junior Leafs held onto first place in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League after a close result on Spokane on Sunday afternoon.

The locals started the weekend with a 1-0 win against the Columbia Valley Rockies on Friday night at home and on Sunday afternoon travelled south to the Eagles Ice-A-Rena in Spokane for their second game of the weekend against the Braves.

Spokane opened the scoring in the first period when Matt Thurston beat Nelson starter Marcus Beesley just under eight minutes into the game.

With the Leafs on the powerplay late in the period, Dustin Reimer evened the score to send the teams into the dressing room tied at ones.

Despite outshooting the Braves 16-7 in the middle frame, it was the host team that managed the only goal when Dylan Tappe scored on the powerplay five minutes into the second.

With every point essential during the stretch drive to the playoffs in the ever-tightening Neil Murdoch Division, the Leafs came out determined in the final frame.

Rookie defenceman Cole Arcuri tied the score just over five minutes into the period and two minutes later Aaron Dunlap gave Nelson its first lead of the game.

With Reimer in the penalty box for cross checking, Thurston tied the score again with five minutes left in the game.

Needing the two points to stay ahead of the surging Castlegar Rebels and Beaver Valley Nitehawks, James Sorrey played hero on the afternoon beating Braves goalie Matt Zenzola with just over four minutes left to play. The Leafs held on for the 4-3 win.

The pair of wins keeps the Leafs in top spot in the Neil Murdoch Division. Both Castlegar and Beaver Valley won both of their games. The Rebels are currently riding a six-game winning streak and the Nitehawks a three-game winning streak.

The Leafs have a big home weekend coming up with three games. On Friday Spokane will travel to the Nelson and District Community Complex. The Leafs will then host the Grand Forks Border Bruins and Revelstoke Grizzlies.


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