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Leafs get sniper Jamie Vlanich back for Murdoch Showdown against Hawks

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
February 21st, 2014

It was just the news Leaf head coach Frank Maida wanted to hear.

Tuesday morning, the Leaf skipper got the word Kootenay International Junior Hockey League scoring leader Jamie Vlanich would not face further suspension after receiving a match penalty during a fight during a February 14 game against Grand Forks.

“I was happy to hear the news because the right thing was done,” Maida told The Nelson on the eve of the final regular season game Saturday in Fruitvale against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

Vlanich received the match penalty for kicking during a fight with Dakota Kittle of Grand Forks.

The penalty for a kicking match penalty is three games or ten days. The suspension doubles to six games if injury results from the action.

Vlanich sat out the return game of the home-and-home series Saturday in Grand Forks.

“The Junior B director of discipline told me after reviewing our appeal, after review of the video the suspension has been revoked,” Maida said.

The loss of Vlanich would have been a huge blow to the Leaf chances of grabbing first in the Murdoch Division.

Nelson enters the weekend with a slim two-point lead over the Hawks.

However, Beaver Valley has a game in hand Friday in Spokane against the Braves.

Should the Hawks defeat the Braves, Nelson would need to win the game to claim the division.

Hawks lead season series

The Hawks hold a 4-3 lead in season series against Nelson. Beaver Valley also leads in goals, 26-25.

Vlanich in control of KIJHL scoring race

Jamie Vlanich enters the weekend holding a six-point advantage in the KIJHL scoring race over Creston’s Jesse Collins. The Thunder Cats sniper has played seven more games than Vlanich. Both players have one game remaining in the regular season.

Leaf winger Travis Wellman leads in goals with 50.

Leaf starting goalie questionable for weekend

Nelson could be without the services of netminder Brad Rebagliati for the Saturday night showdown. The Cranbrook native is listed as day to day with an undisclosed injury.

If Rebagliati is unable to play, the netminder duties would fall on the shoulders of Nelson Minor Hockey grad Adam Maida.

Madia actually leads Rebagliati in stats but has given way to the former Junior A goalie of late in the starting rotation.

Race is on for third in Murdoch

The race for third in the Murdoch is just as intense as the run for the top spot as Spokane Braves hold a slim one-point advantage over Castlegar Rebels.

The Braves, winners of two straight, meet the Hawks while Castlegar travels to Grand Forks to play the Border Bruins.

Both games are Friday night.

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