The freshly rostered Nelson Leafs were out-scored 3-0 by the Kelowna Chiefs tonight in the first regular game of the season.
With only one team practice thus far, head coach David McLellan said tonight’s game was a good one.
“We played a really tough team. We have to respect Kelowna-they returned a lot of players.”
“I think it comes down to a little bit of jitters in the first game- a lot of rookies here. One of our rookie defenceman probably made two bad decisions tonight and cost a goal.”
Add to that, Kelowna ’s third goal was an empty netter as the Leaf’s had pulled their goalie with less than two minutes in the game.
“We’re a young team,“ said McLellan. “As long as we’re battling like we did tonight, especially against a team from the [Okanagan/Shushwap conference: Okanagan division] which is a top division, that was a good game over all.”
McLellan said there were a lot of good signs as well, such as defencemen Dash Thompson, who played well for a 16 year old, and the goaltender Everett Yasinsk. Standouts were defencemen Maximilan Daerendinger and Kyle Chernenkoff.
“Growing pains” is how McLellan summed up the all-rookie defence. “Once we get a more systems and structure in place, I think we’re going to do fine.”
Local Leaf’s players are Nelson’s Sam Weber, Aigne McGeady-Bruce and Nolan Percival; Salmo’s Jordan Davie and Kyle Chernenkoff, as well as Ellis Junker,Tanner Costa and Ren Mason of Castlegar.
Returnees include Austin Lindsay, Brendan Smith, Tyler Fyfe and Blair Andrews.
The Leafs are preparing to play the Fernie Ghostriders Saturday in Nelson at 7 p.m.