Crunch time for Nelson Leafs, host Princeton, Bruins in doubleheader weekend
By Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily Sports
No doubt after the New Year’s Eve debacle, the Nelson Leafs will be eager to get a positive start to 2012 when the club plays host to the Princeton Posse Friday in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action at the NDCC Arena.
The Leafs completed 2011 with a stinker even the players had a difficult time stomaching, losing 3-2 to the Spokane Braves — the same team Nelson trashed 7-1 the night before, on the road no less.
“It’s a new season and we’ve got to get ready for the stretch run,” Leaf coach Frank Maida told The Nelson Daily. “The players know for us to make a run we can’t take any games off and must come prepared to every game.”
In the Posse, the Leaf face a big team ready to push the Leafs around. However, Maida said the Green and White must use their speed in the larger NDCC Arena to its advantage.
“(Princeton) is a bigger team that play in a smaller arena, so we’ve got to use our speed to our advantage and wear them down,” he said.
During the only meeting of the season between the two clubs, a 4-2 win by the Posse, the hosts jumped to a 2-0 lead four minutes into the first period — a lead the Leafs could not overcome despite out shooting Princeton 39-22.
Princeton, 20-13-1, enter the game tops in the Okanagan Division with a one-point lead over Osoyoos Coyotes.
In contrast the Leafs, are tied with the Posse in points but sit third in the Murdoch 15 points behind division leading Beaver Valley.
Saturday, hosts the 1-34 Grand Forks Border Bruins.
Both games have a 7 p.m. puck drop.
ICE CHIPS: Leaf defenceman Julian Davis has decided to leave the team and return to his home in the Lower Mainland. In 13 games since joining the Leafs the 5’11”, 183-pound Davis had one goal. . . .Nelson will see a familiar foe when team sees Castlegar after the Rebels acquired Riley Henderson from the Golden Rockets in exchange for future considerations. In 27 games this season, 17 with Nelson, Henderson had 22 points, including five goals. . . .Leaf coach Frank Maida is working the phones trying to bolster his club before the January 10 B.C. Hockey roster deadline. However, Maida, with two open cards, is not thinking there will be too much action as Junior A and Junior B clubs have most rosters in place.