Despite dominating the first two periods of the game, the Nelson Leafs had to settle for a 3-3 tie on Friday night.
The local KIJHL hockey squad went to two overtime periods, but still couldn’t put away the visiting Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
The Leafs had a golden opportunity to win the contest in the second overtime when defenceman Robson Cramer was awarded a penalty shot. However Cramer, who already had two goals on the night, couldn’t beat Thunder Cats goaltender Brock Lefebvre.
After a scoreless first period that saw Nelson out shoot their opponents 9-1, Creston Valley opened the scoring in the second when Carson Cartwright beat Nelson netminder Joey Karrer.
Less than a minute later, Timothy Nichols tied the game for the Leafs. The home team took a 2-1 lead before the end of the middle frame when Cramer scored his first on the night.
In the third, the Thunder Cats tied the contest, thanks to Cartwright’s second of the game. But the Leafs soon answered as Cramer, clearly the best player on the ice for Nelson, scored to give his team the lead.
Austin Steger scored the game tying goal to send the contest into overtime.
A five minute overtime of four-on-four play and another five minutes of three-on-three decided nothing.
While the Leafs and Thunder Cats don’t play each other often, the night was filled with high emotions and intense action.
“We are getting close to the playoffs. It was good to get a lot of our guys back tonight,” said head coach Dave McLellan.
The Leafs have gone through a long stretch of injury troubles that have tired out the squad.
“The last two weeks we’ve had very few guys at practice and it was good. We took the risk of not practising last week to get some energy back. We were fresh this week.”
The return of players Dylan Williamson and Michael Crawford was a big boost to the squad’s play.
“I thought we were the better team for the most part. We had a little lull in the third. We still need to get a little bit better goaltending,” said McLellan who thought Creston Valley’s third goal should not have gone in.
“That has to be a routine save.”
Overall the coach said he was happy with the team’s effort as the playoffs draw near.
“We got the short end of it, a tie, but at the end of the day I thought we played a really good game.”
The next night, the Leafs travelled to Spokane to take on the Braves. Nelson played hard and earned a 5-3 road victory.
A hat trick by Tyler Fyfe was the difference in the game. Nelson also got singles from Austin Lindsay and Rayce Miller.
Jason Mailhoit was between the pipes for the Leafs, stopping 26 0f 29 shots he faced.
The results leave Nelson in third place of the Neil Murdoch division, behind the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and the Castlegar Rebels.
Nelson’s next home games is set for Wednesday, January 28 when the Beaver Valley Nitehawks visit the NDCC.
Puck drops at 7 p.m.