The Nelson Leafs reclaimed sole spot in first place by defeating the Spokane Braves 5-1 on Tuesday night.
The host Leafs were in complete control of the game, scoring five straight goals on the night.
Aaron Dunlap opened the scoring for Nelson in the first period.
In the second, the Leafs added three more goals — from Austin Lindsay, Michael Crawford and Darnel St. Pierre — to take a commanding 4-0 lead into the third.
Newcomer Joel Hubert, who was playing in his third game as a Leaf, added another marker in the third.
Tanner Stolz broke Nelson goalie Joey Karrer’s shutout bid by scoring with less than three minutes to go in the game.
Karrer stopped 22 of 23 shots he faced while Braves goalie Jon Manlow saved 32 of 37 shots faced.
After the game, Hubert, a newcomer to the Leafs who was playing in only his third game with the club, said it was a great team effort.
He joined the Leafs after playing with Columbia Valley and said he’s starting to feel more comfortable with his new teammates.
“I was feeling kind of nervous at first, but things are good now.”
He said there is a big difference in the atmosphere in Nelson.
“It’s a lot better here, everyone’s happy because we are winning lots.”
Head coach Dave McLellan praised Hubert for his strong play on the night.
“It’s always great to see new guys come in and play well,” said the coach.
“Tonight was his best game of the games he’s played. He’s getting comfortable and I think the best thing we’ve done is allowed him to play.”
McLellan admitted, however, that they’ve had no choice but to give Hubert extra playing time, considering the squad has so many injuries on defence.
“Hey we’re the best team in the league with just three defencemen,” he joked.
Overall, the coach said it was a dominant performance by his squad.
“I think we carried the play throughout the whole game. What I look for is little things. Our defensive awareness throughout the whole game was strong. We controlled the neutral zone and at this stage of the year, the better we get at that, the happier I am,” said McLellan.
Nelson now plays three straight road games before returning home to the Nelson and District Community Complex on December 13 for a rematch against the Spokane Braves.
Puck drops at 7 p.m.