The Nelson Junior Leafs hold their destiny in the palm of their own stinky, sweat coated hockey gloves.
It’s a luxury that brings with it a tonne of pressure as they head into their most important weekend of the season with a home-and-home against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
“There’s lots of pressure going into the games. We know that we have to basically win all the games from here on in,” Leafs captain Colton Schell told the Star. “We want first place and home ice advantage for the entire playoffs.”
Heading into this weekend, the Leafs sit in first place in the Neil Murdoch Division, five points up on the Nitehawks. If Nelson can win both games, Beaver Valley will have no chance of winning the regular season division title with only four games left.
“The Beaver Valley weekend is the most important weekend we have had all year,” said Schell. “I think all the guys will come to the games way more focused than we do normally.”
The Leafs travel to Fruitvale tonight and then return to the Nelson and District Community Complex on Saturday night.
The teams have played each other six times this season with the Leafs holding the 4-2 advantage. Back in late-October/early-November the Leafs crushed the Nitehawks by scores of 10-3 and 12-0. The last time the two teams met — on New Year’s Eve — Beaver Valley scored a come-from-behind 7-5 victory.
Since that loss the Nitehawks have added scoring machine Ryan Edwards who quit the Trail Smoke Eaters earlier this season. In only 12 games in Junior B, Edwards has amassed 31 points.
“We can’t worry about their line-up. We just have to worry about how we play,” said Leafs forward Bryce Nielsen when asked about the Nitehawks bolstered attack.
The Leafs remain the top team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with 67 points. The Castlegar Rebels currently sit in second, two points behind with a game in hand. The Rebels travel to the East Kootenay this weekend.
The biggest reward for finishing first may be the first round playoff opponent. The Spokane Braves currently hold a 13-26-3-3 record.
Saturday’s game starts at 7 p.m.
LEAFS HELP RAISE FOR FUNDS FOR MS
During Saturday’s home game, the Leafs will be showing their community spirit and support for the MS Society by hosting the West Kootenay chapter. There will be a ceremonial puck drop with Dan Carlson representing the local chapter, and once the game gets underway there’ll be a silent auction, a kids’ craft table and a raffle.
Be sure to check out the prizes, especially if you’re a Justin Bieber fan as they’re raffling off a life-size cut-out of Justin and a “Girlfriend” perfume gift pack.
And be sure to keep your head up if you’re in the stands as there’ll be some free stuff flying into the crowd.
If you are looking for tickets for the game and would like a portion of the proceeds to go to the MS Society you can get them at Stuart’s News in the mall or in the flooring department at Maglio Building Centre. Ticket prices are $9/adults, $8/students & seniors, and $6/child to 12 years (5 & under are free).
The local MS Society chapter provides services to people living with multiple sclerosis throughout the West Kootenay and Boundary regions and supports research into finding the cause, new treatments, and a cure for this lifelong disease.
For more information about the game contact email@example.com