In what turned out to be an emotionally-charged night, the Nelson Leafs found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-2 match against the Grand Forks Border Bruins.
The Leafs had a 2-1 lead going into the third periond, thanks to goals from Adam Hodge and Robson Cramer, but the Border Bruins scored four unanswered goals in the third to win the contest.
Early in the third, after successfully killing off a Leafs powerplay, Bruins player Mitchell Dolman fed a breakaway pass to Nathan Cory who had just stepped out of the penalty box.
Cory came in all alone on Nelson netminder Brad Rebagliati and put the puck in the net to tie the score at two.
The Leafs ran into penalty trouble at that point, giving the Bruins a two-man advantage. However Nelson’s penalty killers managed to ride the storm and the score remained tied.
At the midway point of the period, Grand Forks took the lead for good, thanks to a goal by Michael Rand.
Down by one, the Leafs began to press. Their hard work appeared to pay of as the goal light came on, the horn sounded, the crowd cheered and the players began to celebrate. However the referee waived off the goal and the Leafs continued to trail.
With less than two minutes to play, Coleton Dawson scored for Grand Forks. However, the net was dislodged during the play. The Leafs argued that the goal should be disallowed, but after a long conference between the referee and the linesman, it was allowed.
Max Newton ended the scoring with an empty net goal for the Bruins.
Emotions were running high at the end of the night as players and coaches were debating with the officials.
During 60 minutes of play there were three 10 minute misconducts (one to the Leafs) and one unsportsmanlike penalty assessed along with the usual assortment of minor penalties.
Dominic Stadnyk earned the win for the Bruins, stopping 30 of 32 shots while the Leafs’ Brad Rebagliati stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Leaf will be back in action at the Nelson and District Community Complex on Wednesday January 29 when the Castlegar Rebels are back in town. The puck drops at 7 p.m.
The Leafs beat the Rebels 9-0 on Friday night.