Back to top

Leafs clinch Murdoch Division Title with OT win over Bruins

Leaf goalie Josh Williams, receiving an award for shutouts from Evelyn Cartlidge during a recent pre-game ceremony, won his 20th game of the season as Nelson edged Grand Forks 3-2 in overtime Friday at the NDCC Arena. — Bruce Fuhr file photo, The Nelson Daily

For a time, Friday night at the NDCC Arena, it appeared the Nelson Leafs were willing to simply back into the Murdoch Division Title.

After 40 minutes, potential first-round playoff opponent, Grand Forks Border Bruins held a slim 2-1 lead against the Green and White.

However, this Leaf team is not like some squads from the past.

After Leaf Captain Sawyer Hunt tied the game in the third period, Ryan Cooper sent the home crowd away happy by scoring the game-winning goal in overtime sparking Nelson to a 3-2 victory over the Bruins.

The victory, the sixth straight, clinched the Murdoch Division Title for the Leafs — the first for the Heritage City franchise since 2014.

Nelson opened the scoring in the first period when affiliate call up, Marty Ingram scored an unassisted goal early in the opening frame. It was Ingram's first goal of the season for Nelson.

The Bruins erased that lead when Riley Smoler scored twice in the second period on the power play — the go-ahead marker coming after Leaf defenceman Dash Thompson was whistled for a checking-from-behind penalty.

The infraction not only cost the Leafs a man on the ice for two minutes, but Thompson for the rest of the game as the penalty carries a game misconduct.

In the third the Leafs caught a break when Smoler was also ejected from the game following a five-minute head contact penalty.

Hunt, running his consecutive point streak to 13 games, was able to tie the game for Nelson before Cooper snapped home the winner in the extra frame.

Nelson finished the game out shooting the Bruins 43-30 with Josh Williams registering the win in goal.

Former Leaf Quinn Yeager took the loss for the Bruins between the pipes.

Nelson concludes its five-game home stand Saturday when Castlegar visits the NDCC Arena.

The Rebels lost 6-5 in overtime to Spokane Braves.

Castlegar rallied from a 5-2 deficit, scoring three times in the third period.

However, Trail Thompson scored the winner in the second overtime to pull the Braves to within five points of fourth-place Grand Forks in the race for the final Murdoch Division playoff spot.

BLUELINES: Captain Sawyer Hunt has registered 20 points during his 13-game streak. . . . Hunt joins Zach Morey, Josh Williams and Nicholas Wihak as Nelson grads playing their final home game when Nelson hosts Grand Forks. . . . Williams currently holds down top spot in KIJHL goalie stats, tied with Levi Mitchell of Creston Valley with a 1.80 goals against average. Williams leads the league in wins with 20.