Today’s Poll

Leafs remain alive in Cyclone Taylor Tournament, rally to pull out tie against Hawks

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
April 12th, 2014

The Cyclone Taylor Final is set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, but don’t expect any of the four teams to take a flyer during Saturday’s last day of round robin games.

The jury remains on the two finalists for the championship following Day two action after the Nelson Leafs registered a bounce-back game, twice rallying from one-goal-deficits, to pull out a 2-2 tie against archrival Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Cyclone Taylor round robin action Friday night before large crowd at the NDCC Arena.

The single point, believe it or not, keeps the Leafs alive in the hunt for the Junior B Hockey Championship heading into the final day of the preliminary round.

“It feels good to still be alive in the tournament,” said Carsen Willans of the Leafs following the hard-fought contest.

“We hoped to win (tonight’s) game. It was a good game for us . . . we gave it our all but just didn’t get the bounces.”

Beaver Valley currently leads the four-team standings with a record of 1-0-1 good for three points.

Aldergrove, after scoring a 4-1 win over Victoria Friday during the afternoon tilt, is tied for second with the Vancouver Island Champs — each with two points.

Nelson sits in fourth spot with a single point in two games and will be pulling for the Hawks to win its game against Victoria — I bet you never saw this coming in a million years — to have a opportunity of advancing to the final by beating Aldergrove during Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. contest at the NDCC Arena.

“It would be nice to have a KI final,” said Willans, hoping star align Saturday for the two Murdoch Division opponents to meet for all the marbles Sunday.

Twice the Hawks looked to have the Leafs pinned on the mat.

And twice the Leafs were able to bounce back.

Sam Swanson, left all alone in front of Brad Rebagliati, gave the home side for this game a 1-0 lead in the second period.

Brandon Sookro tied the game three minutes late when his slapshot surprised Beaver Valley netminder Brett Clark.

Beaver Valley regained the lead on the power play eight seconds after Jamie Vlanich was sent off for interference.

Ryan Edwards first-timed a cross-ice pass past Rebagliati to restore the one-goal margin.

But Vlanich was able to vindicate himself, drilling a sharp-angle shot past Clark to even the score less than four minutes later.

Something Nelson was unable to do the night before against Victoria.

“We took too long of a rest and just were not ready for game speed,” Willans said of the month-long hiatus Nelson players experienced after being knocked out of the playoffs by Beaver Valley.

“But we got out of the rust out of our system (Thursday) and were ready to go.”

Despite each team having genuine chances to score the winning goal, there was no scoring in the third leaving each team with a single point.

“It was a good battle . . . . I thought both teams played hard,” Beaver Valley coach Terry Jones said after the game. “(Nelson) has got a lot of game in them and with their backs against the wall, really battled us hard.”

By not closing out the Leafs, Beaver Valley faces a must-win situation to advance to the Cyclone Final.

“Getting the single point forces us to win that game (against Victoria) tomorrow,” he said. “We had to win that game anyways but Nelson threw a lot at us tonight so we’ll have to be ready tomorrow.”

Kodiaks manhandle Cougars

After surrendering two goals in the opening four minutes Thursday, Aldergrove Kodiaks returned the favour to Victoria, scoring twice in the opening four minutes Friday to dump the Vancouver Island champs 4-1 during the afternoon tilt in the Cyclone Taylor Cup.

Spencer McHaffie and Stephen Ryan scored 70 seconds apart to give the Pacific Junior reps a quick 2-0 lead.

Nicholas Bower cut the margin in half with a goal late in the period. But Jonathan Philley restored the two-goal margin before the period ended for Aldergrove.

There was no scoring in the second while Adam Callegari scored a third-period power play to in the third to put the game away for Aldergrove.

TOURNAMENT NOTES:  Beaver Valley players had “NH” stickers on pasted onto their helmets saluting Trail Minor Hockey product Nolan Handley, who was killed in a car accident earlier this week in the Silver City. . . . Former Trail Smokie Dave Rusnell, joined by Dale Donaldson of Mallard’s Source for sports, during the ceremonial face-off before the Hawks/Leafs game. . . .MVP for the BV/Nelson game were netminders Brett Clark for the Hawks and Brad Rebagliati for the Leafs. . . .Both scoring stars for BV, Dallas Calvin and Ryan Edwards, did not finish the game. Calvin was helped off the ice late in the third period while Edwards lost a few teeth when a puck deflected in the Nitehawk bench, hitting the Beaver Valley forward in the face.

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