It’s not exactly the spot Patrick Martens expected to be at this point of the KIJHL season — leading the league in scoring. But after another three-point outing Wednesday night that’s exactly where the Nelson Junior Leafs sniper finds himself… top of the heap.
“It’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Martens said of his current hot streak. “It definitely feels good.”
Though expected to put up points in his second season with the local juniors, the Maple Ridge-raised forward has emerged as one of the top scoring threats in the league. In the Leafs’ two-game road swing to the South Okanagan this past weekend, Martens scored four goals against Summerland on Friday night and added three more on Saturday against Penticton.
Seven goals in two games. When was the last time he did that?
“Maybe in pee wee… it’s been a long time,” he said with a smile.
The entire Leafs team has shown that offense is one of their strengths. But in the last few games it’s the line of Martens, Colton Schell and rookie Matthew Naka that has emerged as the team’s number one weapon.
“I think our whole line has played together really well,” Martens said. “Colton just keeps giving me the puck and I put it in. On the weekend the defence helped out… it was really a team effort and it was just my turn to score goals.”
Having Leafs coach Frank Maida keep the line together since the start of the season hasn’t hurt the chemistry.
“It helps,” said Martens. “We have learned to play with each other now and we are comfortable on the ice. You don’t even have to look, you just know where the other guy is going to be.”
Former Leafs coach Chris Shaw recruited Martens and brought him to Nelson from the Lower Mainland last season. Though his goal is to move on to a Junior A club, Martens said playing Junior B in Nelson has been a great experience.
“I love it here,” he said. “It’s slower, the people are more interesting and it’s beautiful.”
Martens said it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for the recent points spurt, but he’s not complaining.
“My confidence is back,” he said when asked to explain. “I’m hitting the net more and they are going in.”
If only it was that simple.