Beaver Valley provides early season test for Green and White
There’s nothing like a game against the defending champion to test the progress of team.
Nelson Leafs, 2-1-1-0, meet the current Kootenay International Junior Hockey League champs, Beaver Valley Nitehawks, in a home-and-home series beginning Friday in Fruitvale.
“We’re really looking forward to this weekend,” said Leaf skipper Frank Maida.
“We have a great rivalry with Beaver Valley but we know it’s going to be a tough (two games). They’re a well-coached team so it should be a very good two-game battle.
The Hawks have owned the Leafs the past two seasons after the Green and White took it to Beaver Valley the previous seasons when Maida and Simon Wheeldon coached the club.
Leaf rookie a goal-scoring machine
Rookie Colton McCarthy is tearing up the league scoring goals. But the early success isn’t surprising Nelson’s coaching staff.
“No not really,” said Maida when asked about the five-goals in six-game streak of the 16-year-old Salmon Arm sniper.
“I watched him all through the spring and knew he’d do well with our team and in this league and he’s done everything I thought he would do.”
McCarthy, in a three-way tie for the KIJHL goal-scoring lead, plays on a line with captain Colton Schell and Jacob Boyczuk. The trio leads Nelson with 14 points in six games.
Players buying into Leafs system
It’s week three but already Maida is smiling more than he did most of last season.
Having the chance to put his mark on this team recruiting wise, the former Minor Hockey coach likes a lot of the 2012-13 Green and White edition.
“What I really like about this team is the work ethic in practice and during all the games we played this season,” Maida explained.
Maida said the players have also bought into the team philosophies needed to be successful at the junior level.
“We’re also playing in a system the guys are buying into,” he said.
“Everyone, including the veterans are buying into the system and the leadership group are leading the way which has led to our good start.”
Leafs down to two goalies, and one of the names isn’t Defoe
And then there were two.
Impressive play in training camp and to start the season from 17-year-old backstop Cody Boeckman allowed the coaching staff to release former goalie Patrick Defoe.
Defoe, from Kelowna, was penciled in as the starter prior to the season after putting together a 10-win season backing up Andrew Walton.
However, the Cochrane, Alta., Boeckman stole the starting spot from Defoe with 1.00 goals against average in two games.
Brett Soles of Cranbrook is the other goalie on the roster.
Bad luck continues for Arcuri
If Blake Arcuri didn’t have bad luck the Nelson Minor Hockey product wouldn’t have any luck at all.
After playing only 23 games last season, the 5’11”, 190-pound defenceman once again is watching from the sidelines to start the season.
Arcuri is the only player on the roster on the sidelines with an injury as the Leafs enter the weekend healthy.
New California recruit
Center Bryce Nielsen joined the Leafs last weekend.
The Laguna Hills, CA native is expected to be in the lineup this weekend.