By Bruce Fuhr,
The Nelson Daily Sports Editor
Thomas Abenante scored his second goal of the game on a penalty shot to spark the visiting Fernie Ghostriders to a 4-2 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the Leafs Saturday night at the NDCC Arena in Nelson.
It was the second game of the weekend Nelson played without head coach Chris Shaw, suspended by the KIJHL for using "non-approved" players. Shaw, watching the game from the NDCC press box, was handed a three-game sit and will miss Nelson's next game of the season, Wednesday night at home against Spokane.
Abenante was awarded the penalty shot when a Leaf defenceman closed his hand on the puck while it was in the air over the goal crease. Abenante calmly skated toward the Leaf goal before snapping a low wrist shot past Marcus Beelsey.
Mark Stachan added an insurance goal for the Eddie Mountain leaders.
Twice the Leafs rallied from one-goal deficits. Abenante gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at the first intermission break. Fernie dominated the frame, at one point out shooting the Leafs 12-0.
Tanner Burns tied the game in the second, scoring on the power play before Mike Weist regained the lead for Fernie with a power play marker.
The lead stood up until Colton Schell worked a pretty three-way passing play with teammates Gavin Currie and Cameron Dobransky with three minutes remaing in the frame.
Fernie, undefeated in six games, dominated the Leafs for most of the game, holding a commanding 32-20 margin in shots and an 18-5 advantage in the first period.
The loss snapped a brief two-game winning streak by Nelson, which started the season 0-4. The Leafs opened the weekend with an 8-3 trashing of Grand Forks Friday in the Boundary City thanks to a four-point performance from Currie and two goals by Schell.
The win gave Nelson some payback after the Bruins blasted the Green and White 6-2 earlier this season.
After the teams traded goals, a power play marker by Currie put the Leafs ahead for good. Colton Malmsten gave Nelson a 3-1 lead before the period ended.
Zachary Thompson beat Marcus Beesley in the Leaf nets to pull the Bruins to within a goal six minutes into the second frame. But Nelson outscored Grand Forks 3-1 in the late stages of the period to take a commanding 6-3 advantage after 40 minutes.
Connor McLaughlin and Schell scored in the third to pad the Nelson lead.
Dallon Stoddart, Marcus Dahl and Adrian Moyls also scored for the Leafs. Thompson led the Bruins with two goals while Nick Van Damme added the final marker.
The Bruins out shot the Leafs 34-30. Rookie Walker Sidoni and Leaf captain Taylor O’Neil were involved in fights for Nelson.
The Leafs return to action tonight at 7 p.m. at the NDCC Arena when Fernie Ghostriders pay a visit. The Ghostriders, 5-0 to start the season, dumped Creston Thunder Cats 3-1.
BLUELINES: The official word by the KIJHL for suspending head coach Chris Shaw was due to the Leafs using “non-approved – by Hockey Canada – players.” Twice Shaw used ineligible players and received a one-game suspension for the first offence (the Sept.18th contest against Grand Forks) and a two-game (during the Sept.19th game against Penticton) sit for the second. Assistant coaches Jason Rushton and Sean Dooley handled the coaching duties . . . Nelson was also without the services of defenceman Raymond Reimer. The 6’4”, 205-pound rearguard was suspended for one game for receiving a game misconduct in the final ten minutes of Sunday’s 3-2 Nelson win over Penticton Lakers. Reimer missed Saturday's game due to family commitments. Forward Cody Abbey and defenceman Tyler Parfeniuk also missed the weekend games due to injury.