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Leafs bounce Bruins as team builds for playoffs

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
February 1st, 2015

The Nelson Leafs plan to focus on the positive after the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League suspended its coach and GM, Dave McLellan, last week for the remainder of the regular season.

McLellan, who can coach again when the playoffs begin later this month, was suspended for the Leafs using an ineligible player since mid-December.

Leaf president Larry Martel said there is no appeal process in place, so the Heritage City franchise will now focus on preparing for the post season.

“It’s pretty well “black and white”,’ Martel told The Nelson Daily Sunday.

“I’ve been in contact with KI president Bill Ohlhausen and he told me, “everybody knows the rule” even if we think it’s unfair.”

Leafs traded for forward Michael Rand from Grand Forks in December.

Nelson first carded Rand but an oversight by the team failed to “roster” the new player to the Leafs.

The mistake went unnoticed until a game last week when the opposing coach saw Rand was not on the Hockey Canada Registry and informed the league.

This is the second time this season Nelson has been found guilty of the clerical error.

Earlier, the Leafs once again failed to register on the HCR an affiliate player and were stripped of points after winning a game against Creston.

This time, Nelson was stripped of eight points, which dropped the Green and White into fourth spot in the Murdoch Division.

Fortunately, for the Leafs Grand Forks, a team that has struggled for most of the season, is in the same division as Nelson or the Leafs may have been out of the playoff run all together. Nelson has a 27-point advantage over the fifth-place Bruins.

“We think the suspension is too harsh, but we’re not going to worry about it,” said Martel.

“We as a team have now moved on and are looking to get our players back and prepare for the playoffs.”

“Hopefully the kids can rally around this and make a run for it in the playoffs,” he adds.

Nelson, which lost to Fernie 4-1 Friday, completed the weekend on a positive note, bouncing Grand Forks 7-2 Saturday at the NDCC Arena.

Seven different players — Austin Lindsay, Brendan Smith, team captain Aaron Dunlap, Michael Crawford, Austin Seaman, Dylan Williamson and Robson Cramer — scored for Nelson, which led 2-1 after one period and 3-2 after 40 minutes.

Williamson finished the game with four points while Cramer added three for Nelson. Lindsay, Smith, Michael Rand and Crawford each added two points.

Brandon Savaia and Keven Moreau replied for Grand Forks.

Nelson outshot the Bruins 42-17, including a 20-5 count in the third period.

Joey Karrer made 15 saves to register the win in goal for Nelson.

“We’re looking ahead to play Beaver Valley in the first round of the playoffs,” said Martel.

Nelson, 21-15-2-6-3, has five games remaining in the regular season starting Tuesday with a mid-week clash against Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

The Hawks lost 3-2 at home Friday to Spokane Braves.

“Spokane is playing pretty well and we’re five points back of them in the (Murdoch) standings,” Martel added.

“So our goal now is to get the team healthy and playing well for the playoffs.”

Categories: Sports