Penalties were the name of the game on Wednesday night, at least it was for the visiting Grand Forks Border Bruins.
The Bruins came to the Nelson and District Community Complex hoping they could upset the top-ranked Nelson Leafs. Instead they received a beating – from the Leafs and the referees.
The Nelson squad took advantage of all the powerplay time, downing the visitors 10-3 in front of a raucous home crowd.
The game was a great chance for the players to pad some of their stats, and many of them accepted the opportunity.
Eighteen-year-old Alec Wilkinson scored two goals and added three helpers en route to a five point night.
“It was just a really one-sided game,” said Wilkinson.
“They were mostly in the penalty box the whole game so they pretty much put themselves down by taking penalties.”
But Wilkinson and his teammates were more than happy to take advantage of those powerplay opportunities.
“They play pretty chippy and took some bad penalties.”
The Leafs, who started the season on a huge undefeated streak, are now working on a second one.
Two weeks ago, the streak came to an abrupt end when the locals lost three games in a row,
Now the Leafs are enjoying a three-game winning streak and continue to sit in top spot.
“We’re just trying to get back at it. We were in a bit if a rough time there, losing a couple of games, especially to some bottom place teams.”
But the player said it’s all part of the game. It happens during a long season and the squad has to face adversity from time to time.
“I think we are dealing with it good and are back on track now.”
Wilkinson said it isn’t unusual for players, or the team itself, to get mentally tired.
“Sometimes you take teams lightly. You think it’s going to be an easy game and then that’s when you know you are not going to win those games because you are not ready for them.”
With another win under their belt, the Nelson squad is now getting ready for a pair of road contests.
That means practice and focusing on what needs to be improved.
“Usually on Thursdays, before game day, we do the powerplay, we usually do breaks outs and a lot of defensive and offensive zone drills. Special teams too.”
Travelling to other arenas doesn’t bother Wilkinson. He enjoys playing in any arena.
“I find it cool playing in other arenas. I like travelling.”
Leafs head coach Frank Maida said the win was a good one for his team.
“Our goal this week was to play 60 solid minutes and that’s what we did last night (Wednesday),” said Madia.
“That’s our goal this weekend, to play our game for 60 minutes.”
The local boys hit the ice tonight in Spokane for the first of two divisional games.
The two squads are polar opposites of each other as the Leafs sit in top spot in the division with 38 points, while the Spokane Braves are in last place with only 17 points.
On Saturday night, Nelson travels to Grand Forks for a rematch with the Border Bruins. The squad is hoping for a similar result as the Bruins are a .500 hockey team with a record of 8-8-2-1 for only 19 points.
Nelson’s next home game takes place on November 29 when the North Okanagan Knights come to the NDCC.
The puck drops at 7 p.m.