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Leafs ride hat-trick performance by Wilkinson to salvage weekend split

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
December 1st, 2013

The Nelson Leafs salvaged a weekend split in a dramatic way Saturday night at the NDCC Arena.

Alec Wilkinson scored his third goal of the game in the final minutes of the third period sparking the Leafs to a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Chiefs in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action.

The win avenged a 4-2 loss Friday against the North Okanagan Knights.

“We do tend to leave it to the end of the game,” Wilkinson said when asked about his late-game heroics.

“The whole game was pretty close and we just came out strong at the end and we ended up winning the game.”

Wilkinson was the recipient of some gritty work behind the net by teammate Jamie Vlanich.

The skillful center man won the puck behind the Kelowna net, then put a back door pass onto the stick of Wilkinson.

“It was all (Jamie) Vlanich,” Wilkinson exclaimed. “He went behind the net and passed me the puck. The goalie didn’t even see where the puck was and had no idea he passed it to me. All I had to do was tap the puck into the net.”

Nelson had a better start Saturday, out shooting the Chiefs 23-9 in the opening frame.

Wilkinson and Cole Arcuri scored 10 minutes into the game to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead.

However, a 10-second lapse allowed Jagger Bowles and Adam Beatty to tie the game.

Kelowna took a 3-2 lead in the second before Wilkinson scored his second of the game late in the frame to even the game at 3-3.

Nelson out shot the Chiefs 40-21, making a winner out of Brad Rebagliati in the Leafs net.

The win keeps the Leafs, 21-2-1-3 on the season, eight points in front of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Murdoch Division standings.

Nelson is tied for the overall lead in the KIJHL with Kamloops Storm. Each team has 46 points.

Friday, Nelson saw Tanner Cochrane score three times to lead the Knights to the surprise win.

North Okanagan scored three goals in a five minutes span late in the first period to erase a 1-0 deficit and take a 3-1 lead after one frame.

Wilkinson cut the lead to 3-2 before Blake Culbert scored to regain the two-goal advantage for the Knights.

Seconds before Culbert’s goal, newly signed Troy Petrick was thwarted by a toe save from Knights goalie Mitch Profeit.

The smooth-skating Petrick undressed the defenceman at the North Okanagan blueline, then another Knights player before skating in on the opposition goal.

Petrick had Profeit beat but the North Okanagan goalie just got the toe of his skate on the puck to stop the Leaf forward.

Tyler Moffat and Rebagliati split the netminding duties for Nelson, out shot 28-18.

Nelson hosts the Spokane Braves in a rare mid-week game Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.

ICE CHIPS: Troy Petrick, a graduate of Nelson Minor Hockey, is back in the Heritage City to conclude his junior hockey career. The local product played a handful of games with the Leafs during its playoff run in 2010 before leaving for the Dawson Creek Rage of the Northern America Hockey League. He played 14 games in 2012-13 for the Salmon Arm. . . . Dawson Creek Rage folded its hockey operations in the NAHL this spring. . . .Robson Cramer, Travis Wellman and Jamie Vlanich each added two assists for Nelson against Kelowna. . . . Carsen Willans, kept off the scoresheet Friday, had his point streak end at eight games. Willans had an assist Saturday.











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