The Nelson Leafs dominated Saturday’s game until a change partway through the third, only to lose their 4-2 lead to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 4-6 in the end. The rivalry between the teams was apparent throughout the game and even after the final whistle, the refs had to keep the players apart.
Head Coach Dave McLellan said he couldn’t comment on what changed in the third. While he thought the Leafs outplayed the Nitehawks, he said it’s hard to win when you’ve lost control, alluding to the refereeing.
“It’s pretty tough to win a game with that many penalties at a critical time,” he said.
McLellan credited Joe Davie, Kyle Chernenkoff and in particular Eamonn Miller for their play during the game.
The Nitehawks lead the game 0-2 into the second with goals by McKoy Hauck and Tyler Hartman.
In the second the Leafs began to put the puck in BV’s net time after time with goals by Austin Anselmo (which prompted a cascade of bras being flung onto the ice for breast cancer awareness), Kyle Chernenkoff, Eamon Miller. With the tides turned to 3-2 for the Leafs, they continued to put the pressure on the Nitehawks even in the final minute of the second trying to capitalize on a power play but failed to raise the score.
Nelson Leafs Eamonn Miller put the puck in the top right corner of BV Nitehawks’ net.
Leafs forward Joe Davie scored less than a minute into the third period on the power play to bring the score to 4-2 (pictured left). Davie gave credit to his lines mates.
“It’s easy to play well when your line mates are playing as well as they are,” said Davie. “We had good chemistry tonight and every time we were five-on-five, which was rare, we succeed.”
As for being kicked off the ice in the last five minutes of the game Davie said he’d love to know why.
“I took a two-hand to the nuts and next thing you know I’m being taken out of the game. I have zero explanation why and I’d love one,” he said.
The Nitehawks scored four goals for the win with two by Brett Roberts (the final goal of the night into an empty net), Jaxon Joseph (on a power play) and Kyle Hope.
Two goals seemed to drift and fumble into the Leafs’ net. Leafs goalie Joseph Barton appeared injured and was replaced by backup goalie Patrick Ostermann with less than eight minutes left in the game.
The Nelson Leafs play Okanagan division leader Summerland Stream on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Nelson and District Community Complex.