The Nelson Junior Leafs pushed their winning streak to four games and remain atop the Neil Murdoch Division standings after taking out the Creston Valley Thunder Cats 6-5 Saturday night.
The Leafs jumped out to the lead 35 seconds into the contest at the Nelson and District Community Complex when Patrick Martens opened the scoring. Colton Malmsten gave the home side a 2-0 lead later in the first period when he scored on the powerplay at the 12-minute mark.
Creston got that one back with just over two minutes left in the opening frame when Brandon Formosa beat Leafs’ starter Patrick Defoe on the powerplay.
Down a goal, the Thunder Cats came out hitting in the second period and controlled the play in the opening minutes. The visitors hard work paid off five minutes in when Trevor Forward’s shot from the point fooled Defoe. Eighteen seconds later Brock Ward tipped an Andrew Hodder point shot past Defoe to give the Thunder Cats their first lead of the night.
Falling behind seemed to snap the Leafs out of their middle frame daze. With just over eight minutes left in the period, defenceman Riley Henderson wired one from the point and beat Creston starter Ryan Waldhaus to knot the game at fours.
The Leafs regained their first period lead five minutes later when Nelson-raised Dallon Stoddart pounced on a rebound and scored his first of what would be two on the night.
Late in the period, rookie Matthew Naka had a great opportunity to give the Leafs a two goal lead heading into the second intermission when he was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway. The speedy forward lost control of the puck at the hash marks and had to settle for being part of a key penalty kill.
With the Thunder Cats still holding a 20-19 shot advantage early in the third period, it was the Leafs who scored the first goal of the final 20 minutes thanks to a Brett Norman unassisted marker.
Stoddart picked up his second of the night on another rebound with seven minutes left, giving the Leafs the 6-3 lead and chasing Waldhaus from the Creston net.
Just when it looked like Nelson was going to run away with the game, Creston came to life with just under four minutes to play in the third. First Forward scored his second goal of the game on a shorthanded breakaway and 48 seconds later Jordan Johnson made it a one-goal game.
The Leafs held off the Creston attack in the final three minutes to preserve the win.
Norman had a three point night with a goal and two assists. Naka also notched three assists in the game.
The Leafs are back in action tomorrow afternoon when the Osoyoos Coyotes pay a visit to the NDCC. Game time is 2 p.m.