The Nelson Leafs had mixed results on the road as they faced three Okanagan division teams last weekend. They gained one win to start against the North Okanagan Knights, bringing their winning streak to six games.
By Saturday, however, the Leafs saw their streak snapped when they lost 6-3 to the Kelowna Chiefs and then fell 2-1 to the Summerland Steam on Sunday.
“We knew it was going to be a tough road trip,” said head coach Dave McLellan, referring to the Okanagan division teams.
The Steam led the entirety of Sunday’s game with a goal in the first by Cody Egilson and a second goal by Wyatt Gale in the last half of the third making the score 2-0. With six minutes left in the game, Leaf Samuel Weber brought the score to 2-1.
McLellan said the game could have gone either way.
“We battled hard. It was a good game and a tough team,” McLellan said, adding the Steam and Chiefs are good competition and Summerland in particular should go far in the playoffs. “It’s always tough on the third game of a road trip.”
In Saturday’s game, McLellan said the Leafs had a rough start: they battled injuries and took a penalty that probably cost them.
The Chiefs led the play with three goals in the first by Josh Baird, Ryan Lawson and Dakota Kittle and a fourth by Baird at the beginning of the second.
It wasn’t until the last half of the second that the Leafs sprung to life, scoring three consecutive goals by Nicholas Ketola, Jordan Davie and Tyler Garcia, two of them assisted by Austin Lindsay, bringing the score to 4-3.
However, the Chiefs ensured a win in the third with another goal by Lawson and a final goal by Jonathan Lee.
This is the second time the Leafs have lost to the Chiefs this season. Nelson lost during their home opener in September, only to gain two points later when it was discovered the Kelowna team had an ineligible trainer on their roster. Currently the Chiefs are second in the Okanagan division, three points behind the Osoyoos Coyotes.
Leafs take North Okanagan Knights in 2OT
The highlight of the weekend for the Leafs was Friday’s match, in which they beat the North Okanagan Knights 4-3 in the second overtime.
The game started with Leaf Blair Andrews scoring during a power play, which was returned by Knight Colin Robin.
In the second Leaf Andy Fitzpatrick made the score 2-1 but that was quickly followed by goals from Knights Austin Fournier and Trent Redschlag, putting the Okanagan division team ahead 3-2.
Leaf Austin Anselmo buried the puck in the Knights net, bringing them to a 3-3 tie and taking them into overtime. Once again Leaf Tyler Garcia scored the winning goal in second overtime — Garcia previously scored the winner against Grand Forks on Oct. 16.
“Garcia has a real knack for penalty shots,” McLellan said of the Anchorage native.
The Leafs out shot the Knights 39-27, as goalie Patrick Ostermann tended the Leafs net. Austin Lindsay had two assists for the Leafs.
LEAFLETS: The Leafs cross the border to play the Spokane Braves on Sunday. Assistant coach Greg Andrusuk will take McLellan’s place on the bench as the head coach attends the KIJHL league meetings.