Leafs ready to feast on steady diet of Murdoch Division Teams
The Nelson Leafs begin a steady diet of Murdoch Division competition when the Heritage City squad travels to Castlegar Saturday to meet the Rebels in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action.
In a rare quirk in the KIJHL schedule, Nelson plays the Rebels three consecutive times beginning Saturday — four times in the next six games.
Castlegar, clinching a playoff spot, is second in the Murdoch Division with a 25-12-2-0-0 record, 10 points behind division leading Beaver Valley.
Castlegar leads the season series against the West Kootenay rivals, winning two of three games including a 9-0 shellacking of the Leafs December 2 in the Sunflower City.
The Rebels have also scored more goals than Nelson — 140-118 — and have better goals against — 102-144 — than the Green and White.
Rebels see star netminder take flight for BCHL
The KIJHL schedule makers may have done the Leafs a favour as Castlegar saw its top netminder, Joseph McLeod, leave Junior B Hockey for the bright lights of the BC Hockey League in December.
After three years with the Pursuit of Excellence program, the 6’2” goalie from Kelowna joined Castlegar this year where in 21 games he has 13 wins, with five of those coming as shutouts.
“Joseph is a very good young goaltender who was having a great season with a strong program in Castlegar,” said Spruce Kings general manager Mike Hawes.
“He’s got good size, is technically strong, and competes hard. He’s also a well mannered young man who will fit in well with our group.”
In three games since joining the Spruce Kings, McLeod, starting two games, sports a 1-1 record with a 5.19 Goals Against Average.
Meanwhile, Leafs new goalie Josh Williams appears to be a week away from playing his first game with Nelson.
Williams, who came to the Leafs from the Aberta Junior Hockey League, remains on the injured list. It’s hopeful Williams may be back with the Rebels face Nelson next week.
Leafs need stretch run to secure third in Murdoch Division
Nelson continues its push to sneak into third place and avoid playing Beaver Valley in the first round of the playoffs.
The Leafs, riding a two-game losing streak, trail Grand Forks by a points in the Murdoch standings.
Nelson, 17-23,0-0-1, has played one more game than the Bruins, currently struggling with losses in fourth straight games.
Veteran Jordan Davie tops Leaf scoring
Veteran forward Jordan Davie holds a commanding 11-point lead over Eamonn Miller in the Leafs scoring race.
Davie, 20, with 19 goals in 37 games for 33 points, also leads the team in goals.
Davie is tied for 33rd in KIJHL scoring, 32 points behind Rainer Glimpel of Osoyoos Coyotes.
Leaf captain Rayce Miller leads in helpers with 15.
Next home game for Nelson is Friday, January 29 against Castlegar.
Leaf games a community event
Nelson Leaf home games are more than just a hockey game.
Throughout the season the hockey club continually hosts special interest groups.
During the January 14 game against Grand Forks, almost 80 exchange students attending schools in Kootenay Lake School District No. 8 attended the game.
These students, from Brazil, Mexico, China, Korea, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy and Ukraine, are billeted with local families.
Two days later, Nelson Leafs hosted KidSport.