With a collection of three wins this weekend, the Nelson Junior Leafs could find themselves atop the Neil Murdoch Division standings by Sunday afternoon.
“Our goal is definitely to come out of the weekend with six points,” says Leafs head coach Frank Maida.
Providing the competition for the Leafs will be North Okanagan, Grand Forks and Spokane. Three teams the Leafs should have an advantage over, but Maida says none of them can be taken for granted.
“There’s no weak opponent,” he says.
So far this season the Leafs have been unable to put together a solid winning streak. On Saturday night in Castlegar, the Rebels shutout the Leafs 1-0 to halt a modest three-game run.
Despite the team’s 6-4-1 record, they sit in a solid third place in the division, two points behind Castlegar and one point behind Beaver Valley.
“We are not really worried about points and where we stand in the division,” Maida says. “Our focus is our game and to be consistent all weekend long.”
The weekend starts with the stiffest test as the Doug Birks Division leading North Okanagan drop by the Nelson and District Community Complex for their first game of a three-game Kootenay roadtrip.
On Saturday the lowly Grand Forks club heads into Nelson. Though the Border Bruins have already equalled last season’s win total — one — they have only managed a 1-10-0-1 record to date.
On Sunday the Leafs pack up the bus and head south to Spokane to face the 4-7-1 Braves. Though the Leafs hold the advantage on paper, you never know what you are going to get when you visit the Eagles Ice-A-Rena just off Division.
“It’s physically difficult,” Maida says of three-game weekends.
“But we’ve been working since the start of the season for situations like this. We have been working on our conditioning so we are ready to go on weekends like this.”
Both Friday and Saturday games start at 7 p.m.