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Nitros ride hot goalie Mitchell to snap Leafs winning streak at five

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
December 9th, 2012

The Kimberley Dynamiters went from the outhouse to the penthouse in one week.

The Nitros rebounded losing to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s worst team to beating the best after posting a 4-2 decision over the Nelson Leafs Saturday night at the NDCC Arena.

“It was an awesome win for the boys,” said Kimberley netminder Matthew Mitchell after the game.

Mitchell was full value for his first star accolades, stopping 35 of 37 shots to power the Nitros to the victory.

“We now have a new coach with lots of good philosophies and the boys seemed to implement them very well,” added Mitchell, playing the game despite suffering the affect from the flu.

“We really proved (tonight) that we’re a top team in this league and if the boys keep doing what they’re doing we’re going to win it.”

Mitchell and Company got just what a road team needs, an early lead on the current KIJHL leaders.

Goals by Taylor McDowell and Dallin Wolf, the latter coming in the final two minutes of the first period, staked the Eddie Mountain squad to a 2-0 advantage.

Kimberley then rode the stellar goalkeeping of Mitchell the rest of the game.

The six-foot plus Mitchell, filling in for suspended starter Jeremy Mousseau, frustrated the Leafs by battling every shooter and smothering every rebound.

“I think hard work, playing commitment to the systems and playing as a team unit helps along with the focus in the dressing room was the difference for us tonight,” explained the 17-year-old Mitchell.

Kimberley increased its lead to 3-0 with a power play marker by Connor Kutzner. The goal came with Leaf captain Colton Schell in the penalty box serving a penalty for high sticking.

Nelson’s leading goal scorer Colton McCarthy gave the home side a brief spark with a power play marker late in the second frame.

The Nitros paid for one of its few mistakes on the night, leaving the Leaf sniper alone in front of Mitchell and McCarthy buried the puck into the Kimberley goal.

The Leafs tried to mount a comeback in the third. But Kimberley put the game away, once again scoring on the power play, with Nelson playing two men short.

Matt Cann drilled a rebound past Brett Soles in the Nelson nets to restore the three-goal advantage.

“We just really didn’t capitalize on our chances and we just really didn’t play our game,” Leaf assistant captain Carsen Willans told The Nelson Daily. “All our shots went right into the goalie and we just weren’t playing our game tonight.”

Willans refused to talk about the disallowed goals that may have changed the outcome.

Instead he blamed the home side for the loss.

“We can’t blame anything or breaks not going our way,” Willans confessed. “It’s up to us to make our own breaks and find a way to win.”

Matthew Naka completed the scoring for Nelson in the final minute of the game, beating Mitchell after he lost sight of a rebound.

Nelson out shot the Nitros 37-20, including an 18-7 margin in the first period.

Leaf goalie Brett Soles, seeing his unbeaten streak end at 12, was in goal to register the loss for Nelson.

Nelson, losing for the first time in six games, saw its lead in the Murdoch Division drop to three points after Castlegar Rebels defeated Revelstoke 3-0 on the road Saturday.

The loss is the second time this season a team from the Eddie Mountain Division has snapped a Leaf winning streak.

The Golden Rockets ended Nelson’s 11-game streak with a 3-2 overtime victory.

The Leafs travels to Spokane Wednesday to face the Rebels in a rare mid-week contest before returning home to host the Creston Thunder Cats.

BLUELINES: The game was the final contest for Leaf sniper Colton McCarthy. The Salmon Arm product has accepted an offer to join the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. McCarthy leaves the Leafs second in team scoring with 21 goals and 10 assists in 26 games. . . .Jacob Boyczuk was back in the lineup after missing two games with an upper body injury. Center Bryce Nielsen remains on the injured list with an upper body injury. . . .Nelson concludes the unofficial first half of the season December 19 with a home game against the Castlegar Rebels. The players have a nine-day layoff before returning to face Spokane December 28 at home.





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