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Nelson Leafs advance to conference finals with series win in Beaver Valley

The Leafs came back from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 6
The Leafs rallied to beat the Nitehawks in Fruitvale. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Nelson Leafs will play in the KIJHL’s Kootenay Conference final.

The Leafs rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 4-3 in Fruitvale on Friday to win the Neil Murdoch Division final series in Game 6.

Nelson will next face the Kimberley Dynamiters, who also won their series against the Columbia Valley Rockies on Friday in six games. The Revelstoke Grizzlies and Osoyoos Coyotes will play in the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference final.

The Nitehawks had scored three goals in the second period from Joel Smyth, Hunter Burgeson and Austin McKenzie before the Leafs came back. Bennett Anklewich and Johnny Carmichael each scored twice, with Anklewich scoring the game winner at 13:23 in the third period.

Nelson goaltender Tenzin Mint stopped 33 shots for the win, while at the other end of the ice Kevin Engman made 31 saves.

It’s the first time the Leafs have played in the conference final since 2018, when they fell to Kimberley.

Game 1 and 2 will be played in Kimberley on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by Games 3 and 4 in Nelson on Friday and March 19.