Leafs expect injured vets back in lineup for weekend
By Bruce Fuhr,
The Nelson Daily Sports Editor
If the Nelson Leafs didn’t have bad luck the team would have no luck at all.
Already icing one of the youngest rosters in the entire Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, the Leafs played most of last weekend without the services of three veteran players — forwards Gavin Currie and Cody Abbey and defenceman Tyler Parfeniuk.
The result had the Leafs losing two of three, including a 6-2 pasting at the hands of the lowly Grand Forks Border Bruins.
On the positive side, the 2010 KIJHL finalists did manage to get its first win of the season, a 3-2 win against an ever-improving Penticton Lakers squad, to right the ship, a little.
“We haven’t been healthy since the beginning of the season,” Leaf coach and GM, Chris Shaw told The Nelson Daily Tuesday.
“We have such a young club that the impact of losing three veterans is huge and changes the dynamics of the team.”
Currie did manage to get in a few shifts during the loss to Beaver Valley and Sunday’s win over the Lakers, but did not look at full strength fighting a nagging upper body injury.
Abbey spent Sunday’s encounter sitting in the stands. The Leafs definitely missed the 6’2”, 200-pound winger huge body in front of the net.
As for Parfeniuk, the rugged Kelowna defenceman has played in just one game this season thanks to a shoulder injury.
Shaw expects Abbey and Currie back in the lineup in the return match Saturday against the Bruins in Grand Forks.
However, Parfeniuk will remain on the disabled list.
“The game last week was a weird one,” Shaw explained when asked about the loss to the Bruins. “Grand Forks scored six power play goals, which is almost unheard of in junior hockey.”
“Still there are no excuses the way we played in Grand Forks,” he added.
Shaw did add a fresh face to the Leaf lineup Sunday in the form of Marcus Dhal, a speedy, but small, 17-year-old forward from the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
At 5’8”, 165-pounds, Dahl adds some speed to the Leafs front line.
“He’s a skilled forward who played last season for the Okanagan Hockey Association Major Midget team,” Shaw said.
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Leafs. After playing Grand Forks Friday, Nelson plays host to the always-tough Fernie Ghostriders Saturday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.
STAT LINE: Nelson, 1-4, is not only last in the Murdoch Division, but the Green and White hold down the bottom spot in the league in goals scored this season at 1.80 per game. Fernie Ghostriders are tops with 4.70 goals per game. Nelson has also allowed 4.40 goals per game, second worst in the KIJHL behind Princeton Posse. . . . Connor McLaughlin leads the team in scoring with four points, including three goals. In contrast, Thierry Martine of Osoyoos Coyotes and Duncan Schulz of Kamloops Storm lead the league, each with nine points. Martine has six goals in four games.