Nelson Leafs.

Nelson Leafs.

Nelson Leafs open season with pair of wins

Nelson defeated Castlegar and Osoyoos

A hat trick by Ethan McLaughlin and an overtime winner from Simon Nementhy gave the Nelson Leafs a winning start to their season.

The Leafs opened the campaign Friday with a 10-3 blowout of the Rebels in Castlegar before eking out a 4-3 OT victory at home to the Osoyoos Coyotes on Saturday.

On Friday, McLaughlin made his Leafs debut with three goals as Nelson (2-0-0) scored six unanswered goals en route to the win.

Nelson’s Hunter Floris scored twice, while Tyson Lautard, Brody Weitzel, Tyler Pisiak, Joe Davidson, and new captain Brandon Costa added a goal apiece. Matthew Byrne chipped in with five assists.

Leafs goaltender and Nelson native Tenzin Mint meanwhile finished with 17 saves.

Jaedon Little, Nathan Dann and Justin Duguay replied for Castlegar (1-1-0). Rebels goaltender Dawson Rattai allowed eight goals on 35 shots before being replaced by Ethan Lawczynski, who gave up two more.

On Saturday, Byrne had two goals and Nemethy scored 3:07 into OT for the Leafs.

Byrne’s seven-point weekend also earned him first star of the week honours by the KIJHL.

“Matthew was exceptional,” said Leafs assistant coach Adam DiBella in a statement. “He pushed us offensively this past weekend and was the driving force in our wins. Two goals and five assists speaks for itself.”

Floris also scored a short-handed goal for Nelson, while Mint stopped 24 shots.

Osoyoos (1-0-1) went ahead early with goals by Levi Carter and Jack Henderson before Floris scored shorthanded and Byrne tied the game in the second.

Byrne scored his second goal in the third, but a goal by Coyotes forward Crae Dawson tied the game with just over three minutes left in regulation.

Osoyoos goalie Jordan Berschiminsky made 44 saves but it wasn’t enough to stop the Leafs.

The Leafs next play Friday at home to the Grand Forks Border Bruins.

Nelson Leafs

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