KIJHL: Leafs rally from 3-goal deficit to beat Braves 6-3

Eamonn Miller scored twice as Nelson rallied past Spokane.

The Leafs celebrate after a comeback win against Spokane.

Anyone interested in watching the Nelson Leafs play hockey had to wait a period for the team to show up.

The Leafs opened Wednesday’s game against the Spokane Braves with a heinous first period before rallying back from a three-goal deficit en route to a 6-3 win.

The lowly Braves made Nelson look like a team of pylons during a dismal stretch of play that ended with Spokane leading 2-0 after having outshot the Leafs 9-7.

“We were playing like dogs,” said Leafs goaltender Zakery Babin. “We had to pick it up. No way we should be losing to a last-place team like that.”

That period can now be scrubbed from KIJHL history. Nelson gave up another goal early in the second but responded with six unanswered goals to finish the game.

Eamonn Miller scored twice, while Jordan Davie, Andy Fitzpatrick, Matthew Sokol and Blair Andrews also scored for Leafs (16-20-1). Babin made nine saves after coming on in relief for Patrick Ostermann, who gave up three goals on 11 shots.

Troy Pichette scored twice for the Braves (5-27-4) while Kurtis Redding had a single and goaltender Patrick Kasper stopped 25 shots.

Miller scored a power-play goal at 17:37 into the third period on a wrist shot that gave Nelson its first lead of the game. Sokol meanwhile weaved through two Braves defenders and snapped a backhand past Kasper with four minutes left to give Nelson the insurance goal it needed. Andrews added an empty-net goal in the dying seconds.

Miller said the team that returned to the ice after the first intermission was the real Leafs. The dogs, presumably, had been placed on waivers.

“There’s no question,” said Miller. “We had a slow start but the last [Beaver Valley] game and the last 40 minutes [Wednesday], that’s our team. That’s how we should play every night.”

The game started chippy. Each team had two players in the box less than three minutes into the game. Spokane had just killed off a Nelson penalty when Redding fired a one-timer from the face-off circle at 13:24 to give the Braves an unexpected lead on their second shot of the game.

Spokane’s second goal drew plenty of ire from the Leafs players. Pichette collected a bouncing pass ahead of the play and went in on a breakaway. His shot trickled in at 5:38 but appeared to be helped by Pichette making contact with Ostermann – just not enough to be called off.

Ostermann’s evening ended shortly after the second period began. Pichette’s second of the game just a minute and a half in had the Leafs starter showing some anger as he departed in favour of Babin.

The Leafs’ three-goal rally started just over two minutes later on a tip-in by Fitzpatrick that put Nelson on the board but did little to fire up the crowd. There was plenty more enthusiasm however for Miller’s goal at 10:30. He stayed with the puck during a Leafs’ line change – he later said he was unaware a line change was even happening – and stripped Kasper behind the net before circling around for the easy dump-in.

Nelson’s comeback was completed by Davie at 4:28. He jumped on a big rebound during a power play to tie the game at three and finally put some life into what had started off as a forgettable affair. The goal was Davie’s sixth in six games and 12th point during the streak.

“We love winning. We had a rough patch there before the break but we’re back and we’re a new team,” said Miller.

Notes: Leafs defenceman Austin Anselmo was called up to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. DiBella said he doesn’t believe Anselmo will return to the team. Defenceman Cole Arcuri meanwhile remains on a personal leave, which meant Nelson played with just five blue-liners Wednesday. … The league’s trade deadline is Sunday. … Nelson visits the Neil Murdoch Division-leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Fruitvale on Saturday.

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

Nelson won’t restrict parking amnesty to West Kootenay

So far, more than 800 people have responded with amnesty payments

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read