Crawford sparks Leafs to thrilling win over Kamloops Storm
Just when the so-called experts are ready to stick a fork in the Nelson Leafs the Heritage City franchise pulls out a big win.
Michael Crawford scored the winning goal with 43 seconds remaining in the game to lift Nelson to a thrilling 4-3 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the front-running Kamloops Storm Saturday in Spoolmak Country.
Crawford’s marker was unassisted.
A goal by Michael Rand midway through the third period had the teams thinking overtime was looming before Crawford stole the game away for Nelson.
Tyler Fyfe and Leaf captain Aaron Dunlap, on the power play, also scored for Nelson, which led 1-0 after one period.
Ian Chrystal, Mitch Friesen, both on the power play, and Ryan Keis scored for Kamloops.
The host Storm outshot the Leafs 47-36 including a 21-10 margin in the third period when Leaf netminder Adam Maida played solid between the pipes to keep Nelson in the game.
The win evened Nelson’s road trip through the Okanagan Shuswap Conference.
Friday, Chase Heat scored a 4-1 win over Nelson.
The Heat scored three times in the third period to break open a close 1-1 game.
Matt MacDonald, on the power play, scored the lone goal for Nelson.
Kaleb Boyle, Kolten Moore, with two goals, and Logan Mostat scored for Chase.
Nelson now travels to Grand Forks Friday before concluding the regular season Sunday against Castlegar Rebels at 2:30 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.
The fourth-place Leafs are tentatively is scheduled to meet defending KIJHL, Cyclone Taylor and Keystone Cup champion Beaver Valley in the first round of the Murdoch Division playoffs.
Nelson trails Spokane Braves by two points in Murdoch standings. However, the Braves have played one less game than Nelson.
Spokane travels to Grand Forks Tuesday before concluding the season with road games in Sicamous and Kamloops.