Back to top

Stingy defence powers Nelson Leafs past Dynamiters

Leaf captain Sawyer Hunt drives to the net during KIJHL action against Kimberley Dynamiters Saturday at the NDCC Arena. Below, Ryan Piva fights for the loose puck while Logan Wullum is sent in on a first-period breakaway. — Bruce Fuhr photos, The Nelson Daily

We've all heard the adage: defense wins championships.

In the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, that doesn’t necessarily apply — where sometimes there are more goals than players.

Of course, it still helps — a lot, actually — to have a stout group on the back end of the team.

Nelson Leafs once again combined a stingy defence, with timely scoring, to shutout the visiting Kimberley Dynamiters 3-0 in KIJHL action Saturday at the NDCC Arena.

Josh Williams backstopped the home side with the shutout, stopping all 29 shots to power the Leafs past the Eddie Mountain Division leaders.

In the last four games, Nelson has surrendered only one goal while scoring nine and posting three shutouts.

Sawyer Hunt paced the Leafs offensively, assisting on all three markers to boost his team-leading points to 38, 10 in front of Ryan Cooper.

After a scoreless first period where Nelson held a 7-0 shots advantage after two power plays, the Leafs finally were able to grab a 1-0 lead in the second frame thanks to power play goal by Ryan Piva.

Nelson added a pair of insurance markers in the third, Dash Thompson on the power play, and Michael Bladon with assists to David Sanchez and Hunt, to secure the victory.

Kimberley outshot the Leafs 29-28 in a game that turned chippy during the final 40 minutes with more than 60 minutes in penalties.

Nelson returns to action Tuesday for a rare mid-week game when Spokane Braves travel to the Heritage City.

The Braves are red-hot in the New Year, coming off a two-game weekend sweep, with wins over Castlegar 3-1, and Grand Forks, 3-2.

Game time is 7 p.m.

LEAF NOTES: Leaf goalie Josh Williams, earning his sixth shutout of the season, was named Nelson’s Game Star Saturday. The recent three shutouts lifted Williams into top spot in KI goalie stats . . . .The win by the Leafs is the first of the season over the Nitros following two one-goal losses to Kimberley. . . .Nelson moves into a first-place tie in the Murdoch Division with Castlegar Rebels. Both teams have 53 points but Castlegar has played two more games than the Green and White. . . .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.