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Leafs bolster goalie position with acquisition of Caiden Kreitz

The deal for Caiden Kreitz gives Nelson two quality goaltenders to throw into the nets for the remainder of the KIJHL season. — Submitted photo

The Nelson Leafs made another move to bolster the lineup of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League club Wednesday by acquiring goalie Caiden Kreitz.

Kreitz, who turns 20 later this month, started the season with the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League before being moved to Cowichan Valley Capitals of the BC Hockey League.

However, according to Leaf GM Lance Morey, Kreitz was not enamored with move to the BC Hockey League and decided, after visiting the Heritage City over Christmas, to agree to come to Nelson.

“Caiden is a big pickup for us . . . a major find that really helps us a lot,” Morey told The Nelson Daily Wednesday.

“We don’t have a No. 2, we now have a 1 and 1a in our lineup,” Morey added.

In 15 games this season the 6-foot, 175 pound Kreitz registered a 3.88 goals against average in 15 games with the Canucks.

On December 1, Kreitz was dealt to Cowichan Valley exchange for the CJHL playing rights of defencemen Riley Thorpe.

But Kreitz felt playing for the Capitals was not a good fit for the Calgary native.

“The acquisition of Caiden really bolsters our roster,” explains Morey, adding Kreitz joins Josh Williams as the Leaf goalies.

Morey said to make room for Kreitz, the Leafs dealt Sam Burford to Creston Valley Thunder Cats for future considerations.

“Sam is a good kid who wanted to play more, and we knew that, so we wanted to help him out and traded him to Creston,” Morey said.

The deal to acquire Kreitz is the second move by the Leafs.

Last week, Nelson acquired one of Kreitz’s former Calgary Canucks teammates in forward Dylan Williamson.

However, Morey said North Battleford, the team Williamson was traded to by Calgary, is holding up the deal. So, Nelson brass has asked BC Hockey to intervene to get the deal completed.

“We don’t expect Dylan to able to play by the weekend,” said Morey, adding that Williams is practicing with the team. “We are hopeful he’s be ready by the January 10th roster deadline.”

Nelson faces a tough test this weekend.

The Leafs travel to Fruitvale for a date against the defending KIJHL champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks Friday before returning to host Eddie Mountain Division leading Kimberley Dynamiters Saturday at the NDCC Arena.

Game time is 7 p.m. Saturday.

Nelson, which has more points now, 49, than the team managed during the 2015-16 season, currently sits in second spot in the Murdoch Division, three points behind front running Castlegar Rebels and 12 ahead of third-place Beaver Valley.

ICE CHIPS: Leaf GM Lance Morey said a scout for University of Mary Men’s Hockey program of Bizmark, ND, will be in Nelson Saturday to have a look at three Leafs — forward Sawyer Hunt, defenceman Zach Morey and goalie Josh Williams. . .. Nelson will have three players in Kelowna, January 13th to play in the KIJHL Prospects Game. Forwards Ryan Cooper and Ryan Piva is joined by defenceman Dash Thompson. Leaf coach Mario DiBella is coach of the Kootenay Conference squad due to Nelson holding down first place in the Conference as of December 1. . . . Morey said the Leafs are not done yet on the trade market with two cards remaining before the January 10th roster deadline. Currently Nelson has two goals, six defencemen and 13 forwards, not including Dylan Williamson, on the roster.