Leafs clinch playoff spot with weekend road wins

Brandon Costa scored twice in his debut with Nelson

Brandon Costa wasted little time making an impact for the Nelson Leafs.

Costa scored twice in a 5-3 win over the Spokane Braves on Friday before adding a goal and two assists in a 7-1 blowout against the Osoyoos Coyotes on Saturday.

The Leafs signed Costa on the KIJHL’s Jan. 10 trade deadline.

He scored twice in Spokane during a four-goal third period for Nelson en route to the win after the Braves led 3-0.

David Sanchez, Jaden Shumilak and Reid Wilson also scored for the Leafs, while Joe Davidson chipped in with three assists. Leafs goaltenders Anderson Violette and Tenzin Mint meanwhile combined to make 51 saves.

The comeback came after Derek Humphreys and Alex Enegren each scored shorthanded goals for Spokane (18-18-5), with Alex Moore adding another. Braves goalie Austin Madge finished with 46 saves.

The next night in Osoyoos, the Leafs scored three unanswered goals to open the game.

Shumilak scored twice, while Ryan Janowski, Keenan Crossman, Shawn Campbell, Costa and Wilson added singles. Mint got the start and turned aside 25 shots.

Michael Greenwood had the lone goal for the league-worst Coyotes (8-28-3), with goalie Logan Jorginson on the hook for all seven goals on 45 shots faced.

The wins helped Nelson (24-12-6) secure a playoff spot and tied the team for first in the Neil Murdoch Division with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, who have two games in hand.

Davidson meanwhile earned his second league star selection this season for scoring eight points in three games the previous week. Davidson, a rookie, has 21 goals and 14 assists in 39 games this season.

Nelson also had to play through the weekend without its head coach.

Mario DiBella was suspended three games for an altercation with a fan during a game in Grand Forks on Jan. 19, according to league commissioner Larry Martel.

Video replay showed Border Bruins fans leaning over the glass heckling Leafs players in the third period when the incident took place.

Nelson Leafs

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