Leafs trounce Braves in 8-3 blowout

Carson Willans dodges a check while taking the puck behind the Braves net. The Nelson Leafs win an important game at home Friday night 8-3. - Kirsten Hildebrand photo
Carson Willans dodges a check while taking the puck behind the Braves net. The Nelson Leafs win an important game at home Friday night 8-3.
— image credit: Kirsten Hildebrand photo
The Nelson Leafs came back from a 3-0 deficit with eight unanswered goals to win an important game against the Spokane Braves at NDCC Friday night. The win keeps them atop the league as the playoffs are in site.
The Leafs came out strong early in the first period and then a Colton Schell tripping penalty turned the tides of the game. The Braves capitalized on the power play with Brycen Fisher scoring from Dylan Tappe with 10:55 left in the period. It was the Braves second shot of the game to the Leafs six.
The Spokane team put on the pressure in the second half of the first evening out shots on goal 9-10 and increasing their lead with a goal from Paxton Bell from Justin Bonanno and Kurtis Redding.
Early in the second, the Braves increased that lead to 3-0 on a goal from Redding with Bell and Kyle Davis assisting.
Adam Power put the Braves in the box on a roughing call nearing the end of the second. On the power play, the Leafs couldn’t get anything going but the tides would turn again – and it was all Leafs for the rest of the game.
JJ Beitel scored with help from Schell and Dustin Reimer with 14:33 left in the period. Keeping up the pressure, the Leafs scored again 30 seconds later on the wrap-around with Aaron Dunlap putting it in the net from Schell and Gross.
Generating several more good scoring chances through the midway point of the period, the Leafs keep the intensity up and it paid off. Linden Horswill scored the tying goal from Robson Cramer and Schell on a nice deflection with just less than five minutes left in the second period. Just 26 seconds later, the Leafs pulled into the lead with Dunlap scoring off a bad clearing attempt by the Braves. Assisting were Schell and Gross.
Both teams started getting physical toward the end of the second.  With 3:16 left in the period, Reimer scored top cheddar on a nice feed from Horswill and Willans making it 5-3 heading to the dressing room after two periods.
The Leafs kept their momentum to start the third with frustration mounting among the Spokane team. Goalie Matt Zenzola took a tripping penalty a minute in – the start of a wave of calls. Leafs Dallon Stoddart made it 6-3 on a power play goal with 7:26 left in the game.
With only a few minutes left in the game, James Sorrey scored on a lucky bounce with Bryce Nielsen getting the assist making it 7-3 for the Leafs. And on the power play, Seth Schmidt scored on a howitzer from the blue line making the final score of the game 8-3.
First star of the game went to Dunlap; Gross got second star and Nielsen took third.
The Leafs are in the middle of a three game home stretch with play continuing tonight at the NDCC. The home team takes on the Grand Forks Border Bruins. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
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