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KIJHL Notebook — Murdoch teams heading in different directions

Leafs forward Bennett Anklewich skates past two Grand Forks defenders during Nelson romp over the Border Bruins. — Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily

As Kootenay International Hockey League fans know, the second week of league action was shortened due to travel restriction by the Provincial Health Office as there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases.

This has caused the KI  to pause play until December 7 or until the PHO decides it is safe to resume play.

However, Emanuel Sequera, Director of Communications at the KIJHL was able to take a quick trip around the league in this week’s edition of the Notebook.

Byrne, Floris Power Leafs Offence

Nelson Leafs are now 3-0 after defeating the Border Bruins 10-1. They lead the league in goals with 24. Nearly half of their goals have been scored by Matthew Byrne (five) and Hunter Floris (four).

Assistant coach-GM Adam DiBella says he likes their play. 

“Our back check has been great, we’ve worked on improving our defensive zone,” DiBella explained.

“We have seen great signs of early chemistry that we hope to see continue to grow as we move forward with the season.”

What has stood out to him is the leadership of the group.

“We have 10 players on our roster that could all wear letters,” he says. “All 24 of our players are already 100 per cent bought into our program.”

Border Bruins Struggle Defensively

Grand Forks Border Bruins lost to the Nelson Leafs 10-1 to drop to 0-3. They have allowed 19 goals in total, which is the highest in the league.

“I don’t think that we have performed anywhere near what we were expecting to start our season,” says Border Bruins coach-GM John Clewlow. “We have had some spurts of good hockey, but we have lots of work to do.”

When the league resumes, Clewlow says their compete level has to rise. 

“We’re not competing for 60 mins. We need to show up right when the puck drops,” he says.

Two Out of Three Okay for Rebels

The Castlegar Rebels have two wins in three games and are led by Jordan Adams offensively, who has five goals. Last season, as we mentioned in the debut of the Notebook, Adams scored two goals in 37 games. His single-season career high is six from the 2018-19 season. 

Rebels coach-GM Carter Duffin is excited to see JJ (Jordan Adams) start to get rewarded for his work on his game. Duffins senses he will continue to roll with this momentum from the start he has had. The third-year Rebel has had a huge impact on the team, both on the ice being relied on in critical moments as well as in the room.

“He brings a positive high-energy attitude to our room every day and seeing the positive results flood in, is always exciting to see as a coach,” says Duffin.

He has been pleased with the start to their season.

“There are some areas of focus that we are beginning to see some of the successes that we are expecting, and we have also identified some opportunities for improvement,” says Duffin.

“During the course of the pause we are going to take full advantage to continue developing both our individual skills and team tactics to keep us prepared and ready to continue when it is safe to do so.”