The Nelson Leafs fell behind 2-0 to the Sicamous Eagles in the opening period, but battled back, scoring six goals in a row on their way to a 6-3 win on Sunday afternoon.
The victory solidifies the Leafs hold on first place in the Neil Murdoch Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
Leafs defencman Patrick Croome had three assists in the victory. He said the team did not get down after the first period.
“When we came into the dressing room, we all kind of spoke up and let everyone know what we were doing wrong and what we were doing right. We needed to start hitting a bit more. We play our best hockey when we are throwing the body,” he said.
The talk worked as Nelson scored six consecutive goals.
Croome said once the Leafs took the lead, you could see the Eagles squad start to sag.
“We definitely deflated them a bit. We knew what we had to do. Our forecheck was killing them all game so we knew we had to keep that up.”
Nelson goal scorers included Jay Sidhu and Matt McDonald with two goals each and singles by Austin Lindsay and Cody Paivarinta.
While the squad is still a few players short of a full line up, Croome said the new coaching systems are working well and he has no complaints about the fast start to the season.
“We have such a good coach that we just listen to him and try to execute the systems as well as possible and most of the time it works out.”
After the game, Leafs head coach Dave McLellan said his squad was focusing on turning the puck over in the neutral zone. He said the Leafs outplayed Sicamous in the first period, despite falling behind 2-0.
“The first goal was a goal we would have liked to have back. The second goal was the same mistake we made the other night. We left the guy wide open in the slot. We didn’t pick him up,” said McLellan.
He pointed out that at that point, the Eagles only had four shots on net compared to 12 by the Leafs.
“I told our group to stick to our plan.”
He called it the best second period the team has played this year.
“I think we scored some great goals and our powerplay worked really well,” said McLellan.
Scoring has been one concern for the coach, who has said in the past that the team needs to find a another player or two with more scoring touch. However, hard work seems to be filling the Leafs’ scoring void..
“Funny thing, its something we talk about as coaches all the time and everyone around us asks or says we really don’t have any scorers but we’re near the top of the league in scoring. It is in spurts but we have to score goals like we did tonight with traffic in front of the net.”
On Friday, Nelson suffered its first loss in regulation time, falling to the Kimberley Dynamiters 4-2.
“It was a game I think either team could have won. We didn’t do enough to win it.”