For a team still smarting after losing points after dressing an ineligible player, the Grand Forks Border Bruins were a welcome sight for the Nelson Leafs.
Nelson skated away with a 7-2 victory Saturday at home over the last-place bears to split their weekend games.
Grand Forks actually opened the scoring in the first minute, but Austin Seaman tied it up for the Leafs 27 seconds later, and then Michael Crawford made it 2-1 Nelson just past the two-minute mark.
In the second period, Aaron Dunlap gave the Leafs a two-goal advantage before Grand Forks replied to close the gap to 3-2 after two.
The third period was all Nelson, as the Leafs got goals from Austin Lindsay, Robson Cramer, Dylan Williamson, and Brendan Smith.
Grand Forks couldn’t capitalize on a five-minute power play — two minutes of which were played with a two-man advantage — after Blair Andrews was assessed a major and game misconduct for making head contact and Austin Lindsay took a high-sticking minor.
Williamson led the team with three assists to go with his goal, while Cramer had two assists. Four other players had two points each.
Nelson outshot Grand Forks 42-17, including 20-5 in the third. Joey Karrer picked up the win in goal.
On Friday, Nelson fell 4-1 to Fernie at home, as the Ghostriders built a 3-0 lead in the first and never looked back. Nelson’s lone goal came from Darnel St. Pierre in the second. The Leafs outshot Fernie 25-21.
Adam Maida started the game in net for Nelson but was pulled after the first period, having given up three goals on eight shots. Karrer played the rest of the way, surrendering one more goal on 13 shots.
With the weekend split, Nelson pulled to within five points of third-place Spokane with five games to go in the regular season and one game in hand. The Braves surprised first-place Beaver Valley 3-2 on Friday.
The Leafs were docked eight points last week and head coach Dave McLellan was suspended for the remainder of the regular season after forward Michael Rand was dressed without being properly carded.
Assistant coach Sean Dooley was behind the bench for Nelson this weekend. Rand remains with the team and picked up two assists Saturday against Grand Forks, his former team.
The Leafs next plays Tuesday in Beaver Valley.