Leafs forward Ryan Cooper juggles the puck Sunday. Photo: Tyler Harper

Ethan Land scores as Nelson Leafs blank Beaver Valley 2-0

Josh Williams earned his second straight shutout for the Leafs in the matinee

Josh Williams knew exactly who to credit with his fifth shutout of the season.

The Nelson Leafs goaltender leads the KIJHL in wins, save percentage and shutouts, but he had a relatively quiet game Sunday afternoon. Instead it was the defensive corps who shined in a 2-0 victory over the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

The effort at the blueline wasn’t lost on Williams.

“Impeccable,” he said. “I think [Beaver Valley] had what, zero shots from the slot probably?”

Ethan Land and Jack Karran each scored for the Leafs (23-6-3), with Williams stopping 16 shots for his second consecutive shutout.

At the other end of the ice, Liam Coulter made 18 saves for the Nitehawks (17-12-3).

The low shooting, and scoring, affair was hardly a black mark on a fun 60 minutes of hockey. The pressure reached a crescendo in the third period when Sawyer Hunt’s slick pass to Land set up a slapshot and eventual game winner.

The goal was a long time coming for Land — it was only his third goal of the season and first since Oct. 21.

“It’s been a while since I scored,” said the relieved-looking defenceman after the game. “Just felt good to finally put one in the net.”

The game opened with a snappy first period with both teams eager to make up lost time. The two teams had played part of the first period the night before in Fruitvale before a power outage cut the contest short.

Hunt was set loose on a pass by David Sanchez on the game’s first breakaway, but the Leafs captain returned to the bench without a goal after his shot went high on Coulter.

The frenetic pace continued into the second period in a game that featured plenty of defensive highlights.

A good example of this occurred during a Nitehawks power play. Jaiden LaPorte managed to get the puck out of Nelson’s zone, battled off two opposing players and kept the effort up all the way to the boards behind Coulter, taking plenty of time off the man advantage.

Then, moments after the power play ended, Leafs defenceman Michael Bladon sprawled out to block a dangerous 2-on-1 opportunity.

“Everyone was going. We didn’t have any weak links,” said Land.

Logan Wullum then looked to snipe the top corner in the dying seconds of the period before Coulter got his blocker up to keep the game scoreless.

The stalemate finally ended five minutes into the third period.

Hunt’s pass deep in the Nitehawks zone found Land, who responded with a slapshot and an emphatic fist pump when the goal light lit up. The goal was such a relief that Williams skated all the way out from his crease to the blueline just to fist bump Land during the celebration.

“When I saw the pass go I thought, ‘Wow, he should have taken the shot,’” said Leafs head coach Mario DiBella. “But it was a perfect pass right onto Ethan’s stick and he buried it. It was a fantastic play with a great result.”

Ten minutes later the lead was very nearly 2-0. Justin Podgorenko carried the puck across the blueline and had LaPorte open, but LaPorte fanned on the shot with an open net in front of him.

An interference call on Leafs defenceman Brendan Makay put Nelson on its heels with three minutes left in regulation. That led to a terrific shot by Nighthawks forward Jaxen Gemmell, who was denied by a likewise excellent save from Williams.

Beaver Valley pulled Coulter in the final minute, and that opened the door for an empty-net goal from centre ice for Karran that sent the Leafs into 2018 with a win.

Leaflets: Both teams will resume Friday’s game at a later date with Nelson leading 1-0. … F Ryan Cooper returned to the Leafs after a brief call-up by the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors last week. … The Leafs now have more points this season than they did for the entirety of the 2016-17 campaign. … Nelson visits Fruitvale again on Friday before hosting the Kimberley Dynamiters on Saturday. … Attendance was 550, and provided a good argument for more matinee games at the Nelson and District Community Complex.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Watch art come to life at ArtWalk

The second art showcase opens July 27 in Nelson

City councillor Robin Cherbo announces he’s running for re-election

Cherbo will be among the nominees for the Oct. 20 municipal election

Kootenay town was the hot spot in all of Canada on Monday

The temperature hit 38.8 C at the Warfield weather station on July 16, setting a new daily record

Kaslo native promotes science and reason on a global stage

Pangburn Philosophy is part show business, part intellectual journey

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

Cougar shot near B.C. marina

Police were called to complaints of a cougar climbing through boats and sheds at the Nanaimo Yacht Club

Most Read