Michael Cardinal scored a goal and added two assists as the Columbia Valley Rockies downed the Nelson Leafs in Invermere 4-2 on Saturday evening.
The Leafs have now lost six of their last seven, broken only by a 5-0 win over last-place Golden on Friday.
Nelson head coach David McLellan said the team did well until Leafs were charged with two penalties in the third, one of which was for too many men on the ice.
“We thought we outplayed them, to be honest with you,” said McLellan.
The game was scoreless in the first. Cardinal scored a shorthanded goal for the Rockies about six minutes into the second. Tyler Garcia tied it up a minute later for the Leafs, but Columbia Valley’s Nick Hoobanoff gave his team a 2-1 lead not long after.
Samuel Weber scored with a minute and a half left in the period to make it 2-2 after two.
The Rockies scored twice more in the third and outshot the Leafs 41-30. Patrick Ostermann made 37 saves for the Leafs while Giovanni Sambrielaz stopped 28 for the Rockies.
Nelson remains a point ahead of Grand Forks for third in the Neil Murdoch division, but now they only have two games in hand. The Border Bruins were idle Saturday.
A scheduling quirk will see the Leafs return to West Kootenay to play in Castlegar on Wednesday, but then turn around and head for Kimberley on Friday. Their next home game is next Saturday against Columbia Valley.