Suddenly, the Nelson Leafs are in fourth place.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has issued a penalty to the local organization, for using an ineligible player.
According to Bill Sheard, vice-president of the Neil Murdoch Division, the Leafs used an illegible player for nine games. Therefore, any points earned in those games have been taken away.
“They have to forfeit the points they won for using a player that wasn’t on the Hockey Canada registry,” he said.
Leafs head coach Dave McLellan would not comment on the league ruling.
It has been rumoured that the Nelson squad may appeal, but Sheard said that isn’t an option.
“It’s right in the regulations. The coach has a copy of it and we have a copy of it,” said Sheard.
The Leafs had to default a game earlier this season. The squad now has six disqualifications, more than any other team in the league.
The disciplinary move leaves Nelson in fourth place, five points behind the third place Spokane Chiefs.
On Wednesday night, the Leafs, minus McLellan who was not behind the bench, took on the first place Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
It was a fast-paced, high-scoring affair which saw the Leafs come out on the wrong end of a 6-5 decision.
Assistant coach Sean Dooley said it was a good, but inconsistent effort by his squad.
“From a fan’s perspective it was back and forth, a lot of goals and it was exciting,” said Dooley.
“We till need to play a consistent 60-minutes of hockey, that’s what it comes down to.”
The assistant coach said his squad had a good push back, late in the game.
“We made a good comeback but it has to start from the puck drop. It’s got to be 20 minutes each period. A full 60 minutes of hockey.”
Nelson’s Rayce Miller scored the opening goal for the home squad. After Beaver Valley tied it up, Drew Carter scored to give the Leafs the lead one more. Beaver Valley notched another goal to tie it at 2-2 after one period. In the second, Darnel St. Pierre and Miller scored, but the Nitehawks answered, taking a 5-4 lead after two.
After making it 6-4 in the third, Nelson’s Dylan Williamson closed the gap to one goal, but was all the scoring they could muster.