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Leafs Cooper, Piva, Thompson off to KIJHL Prospects Game

Leafs sniper Ryan Cooper is one of three Leaf players invited to the KIJHL Prospects Game Saturday in Kelowna. — Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is showcasing its young talent Saturday in Kelowna at the annual Top Prospects Game.

The game was created to allow college, university and junior scouts to watch the league's top young talent in action.

The Kootenay Conference, dominated by players from the Murdoch Division, will have three Nelson Leafs on the squad including a coaching on the bench staff.

Forwards Ryan Cooper and Ryan Piva is joined by defenceman Dash Thompson.

Leaf skipper Mario DiBella is the head coach of the Kootenay Conference squad due to Nelson holding down first place in the Conference as of December 1.

DiBella is joined behind the bench by Brad Tobin of Creston and Emery Olauson of Grand Forks.

Both Cooper and Piva have been an integral part of the Leafs offence to date, as the two sits two and three in Nelson scoring behind team captain Sawyer Hunt.

In 32 games this season, Cooper has 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points — 11 behind Hunt.

Meanwhile, in his second season with the Leafs, Piva has scored a team-leading 15 goals with nine assists for 24 points.

Thompson, who had a very long stint in Junior A training camp before deciding to return to Nelson, has anchored the defence for the Green and White all season playing 29 of the team’s 35 games.

Thompson, along with goalie Josh Williams who leads the KI in shutouts, has helped Nelson the lead in goal against with only 70 allowed.

Beaver Valley — defenceman Connor Seib and forwards Aiden Jenner and Bradley Ross, and Castlegar, defenceman Scott Rademaker and forwards Brandon Costa and Reid Wilson, each have three players on the team.

Leafs back in action January 19th, host Nitehawks

Nelson enters the Prospects Break leading the Murdoch Division. The Leafs, with two games in hand over Castlegar, lead the Rebels by two points with a 26-6-0-2 record.

The Leafs enter the break on a five-game winning streak. During the streak Nelson has allowed only one goal while scoring 13.

The Leafs return to action Friday, January 19th when Nelson host Beaver Valley Nitehawks at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.

After dropping a pair of games to the Hawks, the second contest by a 9-3 count, the Leafs have won two straight to lead the season series 3-2.

Saturday, Grand Forks Border Bruins travel to meet the Leafs at the NDCC Arena.

BLUELINES: The game between Nelson and Beaver Valley on December 29th, which was postponed due to a power outage, has been rescheduled to be played Sunday, January 21st at the Fruitvale Arena. Nelson was leading 1-0 with six minutes remaining in the first period when the game was halted. Game time is 2 p.m. . . . Nelson goalie Josh Williams has recorded a league-record four consecutive shutouts. Between December 19th and January 9th, the Calgary backstopper has faced and stopped all 83 shots.