A three goal performance by Aidan Geiger powered the Nelson Leafs to their fifth consecutive win after the local squad defeated the Columbia Valley Rockies 4-3 on Saturday night.
The home town Leafs looked to be in complete control in the early going, holding a 3-0 lead in the second period. However the Rockies refused to say die and battled back.
By the end of the second, the visiting squad had narrowed the gap to 3-1, setting up an exciting third.
Two quick goals in the third tied the game at three apiece until Geiger scored the game winner after taking the puck around a sprawling Brody Nelson in the Rockies net and putting the puck into a wide open net.
After the game, Geiger said he had a lot of help from his teammates.
“I had some good passes on a lot of the plays so I’ve got to thank the guys. It’s a team effort to win tonight,” he said.
He also said there was a lot of puck luck involved in his hattrick.
“It was good. I seemed to be getting all the bounces right on my tape,” said Geiger.
The victory extends Nelson’s winning streak.
“That’s five in a row, so the guys are happy.”
Geiger said the squad got off the game plan toward the end of the second and allowed their opponents back into the match.
“Coming down the stretch there in the second, we started getting off our game, making some silly plays and stuff.”
He said the Rockies played hard in the third.
“They came out firing and tied it up, but we knew as long as we stick to our systems, we’d get it and I got another lucky one to put us ahead and we were good to go.”
Leafs assistant coach Sean Dooley said the team lost its focus for a short time.
“There were a few shifts there where we kind of shied away from our system and tried to do our own thing and that’s when we ran into trouble.”
However, he said the squad recovered well after losing focus.
“We tried to talk to them on the bench, saying it’s use shift by shift and trying to play consistent and stick to our system,” said Dooley.
He said the Rockies are a tough, hard-playing team.
“It’s more of a lunchbox game than a skill game. You just have to outwork them and win the little battles and when we did we were successful, but you take those shifts off and you see how easily they jump back into the game,” explained the assistant coach.
Aaron Dunlap scored the other goal for Nelson while Sam Young, Carter Melnyk and Dario Piva scored for Columbia Valley.
Adam Maida picked up the win in goal for the Leafs.
On Sunday, Nelson travels to Spokane to play the braves.
The puck drops at 2 p.m.