The Nelson Leafs’ dream of winning the Cyclone Taylor Cup came crashing down tonight as the Nelson squad lost 2-1 to the Aldergrove Kodiaks.
The loss relegates the Leafs to the bronze medal game on Sunday against the Victoria Cougars.
The Leafs played a tough, strong game on Saturday night, but just couldn’t seem to find its offence.
Nelson opened the scoring in the first period when Aaron Dunlap scored (assisted by Jamie Vlanich). But the lead was short lived. Twenty-four seconds later, Aldergrove’s Stephen Ryan tied the game. From that moment on the goalies took over.
Nelson’s Brad Rebagliati stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced, while Aldergrove’s Jordan Liem stopped 26 of 27.
Knowing that a tie would not be enough, Nelson pulled their goalie with just over a minute to go in the final period.
The gamble did not pay off as with 22 seconds to go, the Kodiak’s Aaron Markin hit the empty net to make the final 2-1.
A visibly deflated Leafs’ squad was quiet in the dressing room after the game.
“We were working hard out there and ran into some hot goalies. We worked as hard as we could to get the wins but things just didn’t go our way,” said Nelson forward Travis Wellman.
Scoring was hard to come by as the Leafs only managed four goals in three games.
The squad is hoping to bounce back on Sunday against Victoria.
“The bronze medal game isn’t what you want to play for. You always want to play for the gold, but a bronze medal is better than no medal so we are going to go out there and try to get a win for the fans,” said Wellman.
Nelson and Victoria play Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at the Nelson and District Community Complex.
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Aldergrove Kodiaks will battle it out at 2:30 p.m. in the championship game, also at the NDCC.