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Williams powers Leafs to 1-0 victory over defending KIJHL Champs

Leafs Ethan Land fights Christian Macasso for the puck during first period action Friday at the NDCC Arena. — Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily

If goaltending was the Achilles' heel for the Nelson Leafs last season, it appears to be rock solid to begin the new Kootenay International Junior Hockey League campaign.

Josh Williams stopped 38 shots to backstop the Nelson Leafs to a 1-0 victory over the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Friday night at the NDCC Arena.

The contest was the opener for both teams as the KIJHL kicked off its 2017-18 season.

Williams, who decided to return to the Green and White after spending time Junior A, was rock solid in the opening frame as the Leafs struggled to find any momentum as the Nitehawks held a 14-3 shots advantage during the first period.

In the second period, Alberta native David Sanchez scored the only Nelson would need as the 18-year-old forward beat Owen Sikes in the Beaver Valley nets for the game’s only marker.

The defending KIJHL champs made a push in the third, out shooting Nelson 17-10.

However, Williams was unbeatable securing the two points for the Leafs.

Beaver Valley finished the game with a 38-26 shots advantage.

Nelson returns to the NDCC Arena Saturday to host the Kimberley Dynamiters in a Kootenay Conference encounter at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Beaver Valley hosts Fernie Ghostriders as the Hawks raise another KIJHL Banner to the rafters in the Beaver Valley Arena after capturing the title last season.

In other Murdoch Division action, Logan Hascarl scored the winning goal in the second overtime to spark the Grand Forks Border Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Ghostriders in Fernie.

Evan Loura and Reece Tambellini also scored for Grand Forks. Trevor Dilauro stopped 51 shots to register the shutout for Spokane.

Spokane Braves defeated Creston Valley Thunder Cats 3-0 in the Lilac City.