Leafs forward Keenan Crossman tries to jump on a puck as Border Bruins goaltender Ross King reaches for the save Saturday. Photo: Tyler Harper

Jack Karran scores late as Leafs edge Border Bruins

Karran scored twice in Nelson’s 4-3 win

Silver platters were invented for goals like Jack Karran’s game winner Saturday night.

The Nelson Leafs captain was camped behind the opposing net when Grand Forks goaltender Ross King stopped a shot. King and every other player on the ice paused, believing the puck had settled under his pads.

Only Karran — and a rising tide of screaming fans — noticed the puck was still live inches behind King’s skate. Karran skated around the net before King could react to score with 1:54 left in regulation and give the Leafs a 4-3 win over the Border Bruins.

“It’s a gift,” said Karran. “We needed that.”

They sure did. The Leafs looked invincible throughout September and for most of October. But lately they’ve struggled to win games they should against worse teams, in part due to a packed injury ward and losing leading goal scorer Ryan Piva to a Junior A promotion.

But Nelson looked strong Saturday in a game that could provide a road map back to consistency.

“I think the way we came out in the first tonight with non-stop effort, throwing the body, getting lots of shots right at the beginning, that really helps and can carry the momentum right through the game,” said Karran. “When we come out flat we just can’t get into a rhythm.”

Karran finished with two goals, while Easton Jolie and Keenan Crossman also scored for the Leafs (16-6-1) and Hunter Young stopped 36 shots.

King finished with 42 saves for Grand Forks (10-13-2). Zane Avery scored twice for the visitors with Nathan Cohen-Wallis scoring on a penalty shot.

Nelson started the game on the back foot with two consecutive early penalties. The first of those penalties actually saw the Leafs out-shoot the Border Bruins, who would have scored on the second penalty were it not for a sweet split-pad save by Young.

A Hail Mary pass across the neutral zone by Tyler Nypower led to the Leafs’ first goal. Nypower’s pass found Jolie, who dodged one defender and put a shot through King’s pads for the 1-0 lead at 10:41.

Grand Forks tied the game just 44 seconds into the second period. Cohen-Wallis was brought down on a breakaway and finished off the ensuing penalty shot with a top-corner snipe on Young.

“I thought [the game] had ebbs and valleys,” said Leafs head coach Mario DiBella. “I thought we totally dominated in the first period and they came out and, what I thought was a weak penalty shot call, they scored on what was a great shot.”

The game remained level until the visitors struck again on the power play. Avery fired a shot from in close on Young, then scored on his own rebound for the 2-1 advantage.

It looked as though the Border Bruins would carry that lead back into the intermission until Karran scored with 5.8 seconds left on the clock to tie the game once again.

But Avery, who entered the game fifth overall in KIJHL scoring, restored the Border Bruins’ lead just over five minutes into the third. Leafs defenceman Michael LeNoury was serving a tripping penalty when the puck bounced high in front of Young and Avery batted it out of the air for his second goal of the night.

Nelson rallied once more. Crossman gathered the puck from the corner and skated into the slot. King made the first save but Crossman flipped the rebound over the goalie’s pads, tying the game at three.

“It’s hard to score when you’re not getting shots,” said Crossman. “We’ve been struggling with not taking good shot opportunities, so it was definitely part of the game plan tonight, a lot of shots on net. It worked out.”

King made an amazing save with less than five minutes left in regulation. Brady Miller whipped around the net in an attempt to slip the puck between King and the post, but the Grand Forks’ goalie went to the ice just in time for the save of the night.

Leaflets: Nelson’s injury woes continue to fill seats in the stands. F Shawn Campbell, F Scott Lancaster, D Dylan Rantucci, D Kalem Hanlon, G Caiden Kreitz are all still out. F David Sanchez meanwhile served the second of a two-game suspension for checking from behind. F Logan Wullum also left the game with an injury, although DiBella said he expects Wullum will be ready to play next weekend. … Nelson’s next game is Nov. 30 in Spokane. The Leafs return home next Saturday for a game against Castlegar.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Matti Erickson is Nelson’s first annual Sports Ambassador

City also gave out awards for culture, heritage and sustainability

Body found in car at bottom of lake near Needles ferry

Police say at this time no foul play is suspected

RED Mountain resort delays opening day

Lack of snow puts damper on start of season

Civic Theatre uses fundraising push to get back into black

The theatre rebounded after a big financial loss in 2018

Buddy’s Place opens as Nelson’s second cannabis store

The store, formerly known as Leaf Cross, is on Baker Street

B.C. woman charged in connection to stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

VIDEO: Calgary man narrowly escapes from avalanche while running at Lake Louise

Bryon Howard caught the entire wild experience on camera

Most Read