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Leafs continue building process, host Castlegar to start three-game weekend

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
September 23rd, 2016

Two weeks into the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season and there hasn’t been one trade by the Nelson Leafs.

Instead, the coaching staff is very pleased with the progression of the Green and White despite the fact Nelson, undefeated during the preseason, is 2-2 out of the gates.

After posting a couple of wins over Spokane, the Leafs get a chance to see the other three teams in the Murdoch Division, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena against Castlegar Rebels.

“We have a good balance of players,” said coach Sean Dooley.

“The difference between this year and last year is this squad has a very good team environment in the dressing room. Everyone has jelled together . . . there’s no clicks in the dressing room.”

“From our veteran guys down to our rookies, everyone is equal,” Dooley added.

Now that league governors voted during the off-season to reduce the numer of games during the regular schedule, and not play outside the respective conferences, there’s even more importance for teams to have success within the division.

After Castlegar, which exploded for two wins and ten goals last weekend, Nelson takes to the road to face defending Murdoch champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks Saturday Fruitvale before facing the Grand Forks Border Bruins for the first time this season, Sunday in the Boundary City.

Last season Grand Forks rose from bottom feeders to knocking off Castlegar in the first round of the Murdoch Division playoffs.

“It’s still early in the season but we like what we’ve been able to recruit this season,” Dooley explained.

“We like the work-ethic on the ice now it’s just spending time to getting the systems down.”

What’s for sure is the Leafs will come at teams in waves.

Dooley said it’s a philosophy both he, head coach Mario DiBella and assistant Isaac Macleod believe in.

“That’s the way we want to play this season,” he said.

“We want to roll all four lines . . . see all our D-men get into situations against any lines on the opposition. We believe to have a championship team everyone needs to contribute.”

ICE CHIPS: Dooley said the coaching staff would continue to juggle the lineup as the Leafs have a few extra players on the roster to start the season. .  . . Beaver Valley increased its Murdoch Division lead to three points ahead of both Castlegar and Nelson after blasting Spokane Braves 8-3 Wednesday in Fruitvale. David Nemes, with two goals, and Kyle Hope each had three points to lead the Hawks. Beaver Valley, led in scoring by Hope, Tyler Ghirardosi and Nelson’s Nolan Percival, fired 61 shots at the Spokane net. . .  . Nelson fans will see Beaver Valley at the NDCC Arena Friday, September 30.

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