Some nights everything just clicks. Other nights you can’t find the back of the net no matter how many chances you get.
That sums up the weekend for the Nelson Leafs who travelled to Grand Forks on Friday and pounded the Border Bruins 10-1 then returned home Saturday to drop a 2-1 decision to the Spokane Braves.
The two games are an example of how this years has gone for the Leafs so far. Goals have been hard to come by on some nights, while other games the offence looks unstoppable.
Friday’s contest wasn’t even close.
Nelson dominated the Border Bruins from the puck drop. Sam Weber notched two goals in the first period while the Border Bruins Jay Sidhu scored the only goal of the game for Grand Forks to make it 2-1 after one period.
The Leafs’ offence then lit up the scoreboard like a Christmas tree for the rest on the night.
Goals seemed to come in pairs for Nelson as Matt MacDonald scored two in the second to make it 4-1 after 40 minutes. In the third, Branden Chow scored two in a row to increase the lead to 6-1.
Later, MacDonald scored his third of the game with singles going to Nolan Percival, Robson Cramer and Darnel St. Pierre.
Adam Maida earned the victory in the Leafs’ net, stopping 32 of 33 shots he faced.
Brandon Locket was in goal for all 10 goals against Grand Forks.
Less than 24 hours later, the offence dried up against Spokane.
The Nelson Leafs had a hard time finding the back of the net. The Nelson squad got a first period goal from Aaron Dunlap, but couldn’t score again for the rest of the night.
It appeared that the Leafs took a 2-0 lead, but the officials waved the goal off.
Spokane scored two in the second and then held on in the third to record the win.
Maida stopped 21 of 23 shots in a losing cause.
After the game, Leafs captain Aaron Dunlap said the squad was frustrated by the lack of offence.
“I guess we just ran into a hot goalie. I mean we are so short of guys it just gets tiring for us,” he said.
Nelson has had to deal with several recent injuries, leaving the squad short-handed.
The didn’t stop the Leafs from controlling much of the play and getting plenty of scoring opportunities. They just didn’t cross the red line.
“It’s frustrating. It really set us back and made us mad when we scored the second goal there in the first period and they called it off. That kind of got us down. Then we couldn’t score on the powerplay so we got frustrated. I think our emotions go the best of us,” said Dunlap.
He added that the squad didn’t play poorly, they just didn’t capitalize.
“I think if we keep doing what we’re doing and we get our guys back, we’ll be pretty hard to beat.”
Forward Branden Chow said emotions were running high on the ice.
“All the boys were pretty emotional, but we just did our best and it is what it is,” he said.
“The puck just wasn’t bouncing our way. We gave it our all but it just wouldn’t go in the net,” said Chow.
Despite the loss, Nelson is still in first place in the Neil Murdoch Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
Chow said the squad knows what they are capable of and will put the loss behind them and get ready for the next game.
“We stick to our game plan. All the boys know what we’re doing. It was just a tough game. It just wasn’t going our way.”
The Leafs play one more game before the Christmas break when the grand Forks Border Bruins come to town on December 19.
Puck drops at 7 p.m.