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Rockies snap Leafs winning streak with third-period comeback

The Leafs once again got the upper hand on rival Beaver Valley Nitehawks, edging the Murdoch rivals Friday in Fruitvale.

Columbia Valley Rockies scored four unanswered goals in the third period to rally past the Nelson Leafs 5-3 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Sunday at the NDCC Arena.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak by the Green and White. Nelson opened the weekend with a 3-2 victory over Beaver Valley Friday in Fruitvale before doubling up on Creston Valley Thunder Cats 6-3 Saturday at the NDCC Arena.

The Leafs looked poised to continue the streak Sunday during the afternoon tilt between the two Kootenay Conference teams. Nelson took control of the game 27 seconds into the third period when rookie winter Joe Davidson scored his 15th goal of the season on the power play to give the homeside a 3-1 advantage.

However, the roof began to fall in on the Green and White when the Leafs Cole Wyatt was whistled for a roughing penalty three minutes into the third period. Rockies converted on the power play when Rambow Hunter beat Leafs netminder Anderson Violette.

Columbia Valley then scored twice in less than a minute to take a 4-3 lead. Gavin Fleck, with his second of the game, tied the game with 6:22 remaining in the game, before Tristan Lambert netted the winner.

Loclyn Kabatoff scored into the empty net with 39 seconds left in the game to complete the comeback. The loss was third time this season Columbia Valley has defeated Nelson.

The Leafs opened the weekend, and the New Year, Friday with a one-goal victory over Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Cole Wyatt scored the winner two minutes into the third period, snapping a 2-2 tie.

Nelson goalie Anderson Violette shut the door on the Hawks offence for the remainder of the game to give Nelson a sweep in the home-and-home series. Leafs won New Year’s Eve encounter over Beaver Valley 6-3. Bryden Pow and David Sanchez also scored for Nelson Friday.

Bradley Ross and Brock Wallace replied for the Hawks, which outshot Nelson 32-28 in the game. Violette, stopping 26 of 28 shots, outdueled former Leaf Hunter Young in goal.

Nelson continued to ride the hot start in 2020 Saturday at the NDCC Arena by defeating Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

With the score tied 3-3 midway through the third period, Tyler Pisak, Shawn Campbell and Joe Davidson scored, the latter two goals coming into empty nets, to secure the win for Nelson.

Reid Wilson, with a pair, and Wyatt also scored for the Leafs. Wyatt and Wilson each finished the game with four points to lead Nelson.

Nelson, 21-10-0-0-4 on the season, trails Beaver Valley by a single point in the Murdoch Division standings. However, due to a quirk in the KIJHL schedule, Nelson has played three more games than Beaver Valley.

BLUELINES: After playing four games in six nights, Nelson is idle until January 14th when the Leafs travel to Grand Forks to play the Border Bruins. Next home game is Friday, January 17th when Leafs host KIJHL leading Kimberley Dynamiters at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena. . . . Sunday’s loss drops Nelson to a record of 4-9 against Eddie Mountain teams. . . . Saturday, Leafs backup goalie Tenzin Mint earned Game Star accolades for the home side after stopping 52 or 55 shots during the win over Creston Valley. During the game, Mint faced 24 shots in the second period when Nelson, according to the KIJHL stats page, did not register a single shot on the Creston Valley goal. . . . Leafs leading scorer Reid Wilson, adding one assist Sunday, increases his point streak to 11 games. Wilson is tied with Bradley Ross of Beaver Valley for second in KIJHL scoring behind front runner Brock Palmer of Kimberley. . . . . Following the weekend, Nelson has four players on suspension. Jaden Shumlak, Tyler Badger, Keenan Crossman and Cole Wyatt have all been suspended. Shumlak, Badger and Crossman are suspended for Check-To-Head accumulations while Wyatt received a three-game sit after receiving a Check-From-Behind penalty in the last 10 minutes of Sunday’s game against Columbia Valley.