The under-15 Nelson Leafs edged Grand Forks in overtime to capture the league title and banner for the U15 House West Kootenay Minor Hockey League on Feb. 26.
The team entered the tournament weekend with a regular season league-leading record of 14-1-1, which resulted in the team earning a bye for the first game of the round robin action.
Nelson rounded out the round-robin play with wins over Greater Trail U15 Team 2 (5-0) and Greater Trail U15 Team 1 (9-1) to advance to the semifinals in first place, which setup a gritty match against Castlegar U15 that ended with Nelson primed for the final with a 4-1 victory.
In the final, Charles Shrieves opened the scoring for Nelson with an assist from Brody Arjun with 4:01 remaining in the first period.
Brycen Semenoff of Grand Forks responded early in the second at the 17:32 mark with a snipe from the slot to tie the game at 1-1.
As the second period progressed, penalty free with free flowing and fast paced action, Kingston Kemp of Nelson stroked a shot from the blueline on the pass from Tadhg Dolan that trickled through the five hole of the Grand Forks netminder to put the Leafs ahead 2-1 going into the second intermission.
Nelson poured on the pressure in the third frame with a goal being waived off. Midway through the third period, Semenoff responded again with an assist from William Kocsis on a turnover that resulted behind the Leafs net, which tied the game.
With 2:33 left in the third period, Grand Forks incurred a hooking penalty that set up a flurry of action from the Leafs for the balance of the third, to no avail which then set the stage for overtime action.
Early into the five-minute, 5-on-5 overtime, Nelson had a second goal waved-off before Jasper Marshall won a battle for the puck on the boards after an unsuccessful attempt by Grand Forks to clear their zone. Marshall drove the net around two defenders and was stymied by Grand Forks goaltender with a partial glove save that resulted in a rebound and was scored on by Preston Hobbs at the 2:14 minute mark, prompting the team to swarm the ice in celebration of the victory.
Leafs goalie Canyon Cardinal posted one shutout and recorded an impressive goal-against average of just one for the weekend tournament.
The U15 Leafs consist of players Brody Arjun, Colton Poole, Liam Foord, Kingston Kemp, Conner Hill, Jaxon Slomba, Ronan Outram, Torin Munroe, Preston Hobbs, Quentin Kerekes, Hayden Rice, Tadhg Dolan, Charles Shrieves, Phoenix Scott, Jasper Marshall, Kieran Mucha, Quinn Wilkinson, Hugo Muparutsa, Canyon Cardinal, head coach Tyler Rice, assistant coach Aaron Shrieves, Pat Dolan, Cris Outram, safety Brandon Cardinal, strength and conditioning coach Arthur Andrews and manager Nicole Le Bihan.