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Willans, Wellman spark Leafs to narrow win over Spokane as KIJHL playoff season begins

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
February 26th, 2014

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.

Carsen Willans and Travis Wellman scored goals to power the Nelson Leafs to a nail-biting 2-1 victory over the Spokane Braves in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoff action Tuesday at the NDCC Arena.

Nelson leads the best-of-seven Murdoch Division Semi Final series 1-0.

Game two is Wednesday at the NDCC Arena.

Playing the game without the services of leading scorer Jamie Vlanich and veteran center Linden Horswill, Nelson struggled to find any offence through the first 38 minutes of the contest.

That’s when a bad pinch in the Braves defence gave Nelson a 2-on-1 break.

With Willans carrying the puck into the Spokane zone, Wellman played the opportunistic winger tapping in a Rayce Miller pass for the game’s first goal.

In the third it was Willans’ turn.

The diminutive winger skated through the Braves defence before depositing a backhander past a surprised Jon Manlow in the Spokane nets.

Nelson then put the game into the hands for netminder Adam Maida, who shutout the Braves for 59 minutes before Sean Collins scored on the power play.

Maida is currently riding a three-game winning streak after taking over for injured Brad Rebagliati in the Nelson nets.

Nelson out shot the Braves 29-23.

Puck drop Wednesday is 7 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: Kimberley, Creston, Osoyoos and 100 Mile House all took one-game leads in their respective playoff series as all but one series opened Tuesday in the KIJHL. Beaver Valley hosts Castlegar in Game one of the other Murdoch Semi Final. . . . The loss of Jamie Vlanich and Linden Horswill takes 140-plus regular season points of offence out of the Nelson lineup. Vlanich could be in the lineup for Wednesday while Horswill is possible for Friday when the series shifts to Spokane.

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