The Nelson Leafs suffered another setback in what is turing out to be a rollercoaster Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season.
The Grand Forks Border Bruins rallied from a 2-0 deficit to edge the Leafs 4-3 in overtime Tuesday at the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena in the Boundary City.
Anthony Williams sent the Leafs packing, scoring at 3:59 of overtime to give the home site the victory, the Bruins’ first of the season against Nelson.
Nelson looked poised to bounce back from a heartbreaking 5-3 loss at home to Columbia Valley earlier in January. The Leafs held a 3-1 lead early in the third period, only to see the Rockies explode for four straight goals to secure the win.
Tuesday, Nelson took a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals by Bryden Pow and Kevin Lawrence. Kyle Bailey scored twice in the second to bring the Bruins even at 2-2.
However, Nelson’s leading scorer Reid Wilson restored the Leafs advantage, potting his 23rd goal of the season with 64 seconds remaining in the period to give Nelson the one-goal lead heading into the third.
But with Nelson clinging to the one-goal lead, Bailey scored this third of the game with just over two minutes remaining in the period to force overtime to set the stage for Williams heroics.
Nelson, missing forwards Cole Wyatt, Tyler Badger and Keenan Crossman due to suspension, outshot the Bruins 39-37 in the contest. Shane Zilka registered the win in goal for Grand Forks while Leafs netminder Tenzin Mint was tagged for the loss.
Nelson missed a great opportunity to close the gap on Murdoch leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The Leafs trail the Hawks by four points in Murdoch standings with Beaver Valley having played two less games.
Leafs host KIJHL-leading Nitros Friday at NDCC Arena
The Leafs face a huge test Friday when Nelson plays host to KIJHL leading Kimberley Dynamiters at the NDCC Arena.
Kimberley, sporting a 31-4-0-0-2 record, has a nine-point lead over defending KI Champion Revelstoke Grizzlies in overall league standings.
The Nitros own a 2-0 advantage over Nelson in the season series, winning twice at home against the Leafs.
Leafs finalize roster
Leafs management made a few moves prior to the January 10th roster deadline.
Nelson added 6’2”, 174 pound Aiden Jenner as well as 5’11”, 180-pound Brandon Costa to the roster.
Jenner previously played for Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BC Hockey League while Costa comes to Nelson having played for St. Stephen County Aces of the Maritime Junior Hockey League.
Nelson sent futures to Castlegar Rebels for Costa’s playing rights.