Leafs head coach Mario DiBella’s second tenure with Nelson began with a familiar result Wednesday.
The Leafs blew a late rally en route to a 6-5 loss against the division-leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Fruitvale, BC.
Braden Fuller scored twice in the final five minutes of the third period to complete his hat trick as well as the Nitehawks’ comeback. Sam Swanson, Dylan Heppler and Michael Pruss also scored for the Nitehawks (25-5-4).
Samuel Weber, Andy Fitzpatrick, Jordan Davie, Austin Anselmo and Dashiel Thompson had a goal apiece for Nelson (14-20-1).
One bright spot for the Leafs was the play of Curt Doyle, who made 40 saves after being called up from the BC Major Midget League’s Kootenay Ice. Drake Poirier stopped 22 shots in Beaver Valley’s net.
Beaver Valley led 3-2 after the first period and 4-3 after the second before a wild final frame.
Anselmo scored on the power play to tie the game at 9:41 and Thompson put the Leafs ahead just over a minute later for their first lead of the game.
But Fuller’s goal at 4:41 tied the game yet again, and, with Leafs forward Levi Hulston in the penalty box for hooking, Fuller scored at 1:11 to end the slugfest in Beaver Valley’s favour.