Leafs eager to bounce back after dismal start
By Bruce Fuhr,
The Nelson Daily Sports Editor
According to Chris Shaw it’s not about how you start the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season, but what is important is how you finish.
So two losses out of the gate, even to rival Castlegar, isn’t going to set the rookie Leaf coach into a state of panic.
“We had a late camp and only had two practices before we played our first games and it showed,” Shaw said on the eve of a three-game weekend starting Friday night against the 2-0 Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
“We lacked conditioning and it showed because Castlegar was in better shape in the third periods (of both games).”
Which is why the players spent most of the week working a little harder than if the team won both games against the Rebels.
“We concentrated conditioning Monday and Tuesday and have been working on systematic stuff . . . team stuff to help better prepare the kids on the ice.”
After Beaver Valley, Nelson travels to Grand Forks to meet the winless, and hurting, Bruins Saturday. Sunday the Leafs conclude the three-game set against Shaw’s old club, the Penticton Lakers.
Shaw promises Leaf faithful there will be a different team on the ice this weekend at the NDCC Arena.
“We have 13 new players on the team who had yet to figure out their teammates,” Shaw said. “But I believe we have firepower here and fans will see that once the players start to jell.”
Shaw comes with many of the same coaching philosophies the franchise enjoyed under the leadership of former coach and GM Simon Wheeldon.
So there will be no revolving door no matter what the result is on the ice.
“I may make one or two moves but I definitely won’t be burning through cards,” Shaw admitted. “Once I make a team selection I stick with those players. I’m pretty confident in this group and know what this team is capable of doing.”
ICE CHIPS: Defenceman Tyler Parfeniuk is the only Leaf out of the lineup due to injury. The Kelowna product injured a shoulder during the season opener and looks to be at least two weeks away before playing again. . . .Look for goalies Marcus Beesley and Darren Hogg to split the weekend games between the pipes. . . .A new promotion by the Leaf executive has a minor hockey player skating during the National Anthem skate. The promotion called, The Seventh Man, selects players at random. Nelson Minor Hockey players can enter online at the Leaf website.