Leafs defenceman Brendan Makay patrols the zone Wednesday. Nelson went on to beat Castlegar 4-3. Photo: Tyler Harper

Leafs take 2-0 series lead over Rebels

Ryan Piva had his second straight double-OT game winner Wednesday

Just before the puck came his way, Ryan Piva had thought he might hear a whistle.

A Jaiden LaPorte shot rebounded off Rebels goaltender Curt Doyle right to Piva, who believed he had been tripped and was waiting for the call. Instead there was the puck, and an open net in front of him.

“It was just sitting right there, so I just tapped it in,” he said.

The goal in double overtime lifted the Nelson Leafs to a 4-3 win over the Castlegar Rebels on Wednesday, and gave the team a 2-0 series lead in the Neil Murdoch Division final.

It also came one night after Piva scored another winner, also in double OT, in Game 1. And in all likelihood, there’s more overtime hockey to come.

“I hope not, but I’ve got a feeling it might,” said Piva. “We’re two good teams, we both want to win. It’s just whoever brings it.”

Jack Karran, LaPorte and Michael Bladon also scored for Nelson, while Josh Williams had 20 saves.

Doyle made 48 saves for the Rebels, who also had goals from Ed Lindsey, Shawn Campbell and Chris Breese.

Game 3 is on Friday at 4 p.m. in Castlegar.

The Leafs found success Wednesday by emphasizing a quantity of shots over quality shots. Doyle has now faced 90 shots through just two games, and Nelson needs to keep the pressure up if the team wants to beat Castlegar’s red-hot netminder.

But Nelson head coach Mario DiBella said his team did just that and more on Wednesday.

“I thought we pushed the pace their way,” said DiBella. “They got a fortunate break in the second period with the penalty calls, which I thought were a bit liberal as far as the calls were made. It got them back in the game.”

Game 2 began much the same as Game 1 — cautiously. The Rebels had the edge in shots but neither side had a quality chance, and the first 20 minutes played out at a snail’s pace.

Still, the Leafs managed to get on the board two minutes before the first intermission. Rebels defenceman Vince Bitonti was in the box when a Ryan Cooper shot rebounded off Doyle to Karran, who finished the play for the 1-0 lead.

There was more where that came from in the second period for both teams.

LaPorte put the Leafs up by two goals on a pretty breakaway thanks to a saucer pass from Nicholas Wihak less than two minutes after the puck drop. But the lead was short-lived, and Nelson had itself to blame.

Bladon and Jackson Zimmermann took two consecutive penalties, and the Rebels cashed in on the ensuing 5-on-3. Lindsey whipped a wrist shot that beat Williams, and then just 19 seconds later a fast break by Campbell added another to tie the game at two.

Bladon made up for that in the third period. He wired a point shot that appeared to deflect off a Rebels player past Doyle, which restored the Leafs’ lead at 15:29.

It’s goals like that that will make the difference, according to LaPorte.

“We’ve just been putting in the investment,” he said. “Putting on the body, being physical against them. It’s just getting shots, trying to win games, playing hard.”

Once again, Castlegar was quick to respond.

The Leafs were on the power play when Breese swiped the puck and deked through a trailing defender. Williams got a piece of Breese’s first shot, but the puck made its way through, bounced off the post and right back to Breese, who potted the easy goal to tie the game at three.

That was it for scoring in regulation and, as is typical for both teams, the game moved into overtime.

Cooper was levelled minutes into overtime by Aiden Cornell, who was handed 10 minutes for head contact. That put the Leafs on a 5-on-3, albeit without one of their best players after Cooper skated very slowly to the bench en route to the locker-room.

But Nelson failed to make it count, and OT continued.

Leaflets: Nelson was missing F Justin Podgorenko. … An honourable mention to the Leafs’ mascot, who was worth the price of admission with his antics.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Nelson Leafs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

West Kootenay SPCA hopes you’ll have a heart for Cupid

Cat who tangled with a bobcat seeking a permanent home

Leafs, Nitehawks to decide division title Saturday

The regular season ends in Nelson with both teams tied on points

Nelson Nordic Ski Club fundraising for new groomer

The club’s current machine is beginning to break down

Martial Arts for Justice aims to help 500 genocide survivors in Rwanda in 2020

The Nelson-based charity has also debuted its own YouTube channel

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read