The Nelson Leafs surrendered six unanswered goals en route to a 7-3 loss against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Fruitvale on Saturday.
Kyle Hope, Braden Fuller, Blake Sidoni, Devin Nemes, Allan Pruss, Ryan Terpsma and Devin Ghirardosi each scored for the division-leading Nitehawks (26-8-4).
Eamonn Miller scored twice for Nelson (16-21-1), while Samuel Weber added a single.
Beaver Valley exploded out of the gate with five goals in the first period. Leafs goaltender Curt Doyle, back again after a brief return to major midget hockey, allowed all five goals on 14 shots before being pulled at the intermission in favour of Patrick Ostermann.
Leafs head coach Mario DiBella took ownership for the ugly first period.
“I have to take blame. My team wasn’t prepared when they dropped the puck,” he said. “There are circumstances that are sometimes out of your control. The pace of the game was high. Beaver Valley got the advantage of a couple of penalty calls early on. They were quite physical and we weren’t prepared to match that intensity.”
Terpsma opened the second period with a short-handed goal to give the Nitehawks a 6-0 lead. Miller put the Leafs on the board with two goals bookending another Beaver Valley goal by Ghirardosi.
Weber’s goal in the third was all the offence either team would muster during the period, but DiBella said he could at least see a silver lining in how his team responded after the ugly first.
“The second period was 2-2 and the third period we actually won 1-0. If the game was only 40 minutes we would have won the game 3-2,” he said.
“Unfortunately it’s 60 minutes and we lost the game 7-3.”
Beaver Valley goaltender Tallon Kramer made 39 saves for the win, while Ostermann finished with 24 saves.
Nelson next hosts the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Thursday.