Today’s Poll

Leafs, Hawks ready for Round Three

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
September 30th, 2016

One month into the season and not one team in the Murdoch Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has taken control.

Currently, three teams — Grand Forks Border Bruins, Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Nelson Leafs — are tied for top spot with the Bruins getting the edge having played one less game.

Right on the heels of the three front-runners is Castlegar Rebels, who have won three straight games after struggling out of the gates after losing twice during an East Kootenay road trip.

The Nelson Leafs continue its September run through the Murdoch Division by hosting the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Friday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.

The game is the lone contest on the schedule for Nelson after the Leafs played three times last weekend.

“Right now our concern is putting together a full 60 minutes of hockey, developing our team systems . . . especially defensively,” said Leaf coach Sean Dooley on the eve of the game against the defending Murdoch Division champs.

“We’re doing a good job putting the puck in the net and now we have to focus on keeping it out of ours.”

The two teams have hooked up three times already, and the season is not even out of September.

Beaver Valley started the season by edging the Leafs 3-1 on opening night. Nelson evened the series last Saturday with a 4-3 win in Fruitvale.

Hunt on fire to start the season

Nelson Leafs winger Sawyer Hunt appears to have found his scoring touch after returning to his roots in the Heritage City.

The 5’11”, 175-pound Nelson Minor Hockey grad has points in five of the Leafs seven games — registering points in the last three contests.

Hunt, tied for third in KIJHL scoring, finished his final season in Kimberley with 35 points.

If he continues his at this pace, the former Dynamiter would almost triple his points total of a year ago.

Dale Howell, tied for fifth in KIJHL scoring, is right behind Hunt in Leafs scoring with 11 points.

Hunt, Howell and 16-year-old Ryan Piva are tied for the lead in goals for Nelson, each with four.

Piva has goals in each of the last three games for Nelson.

Paxton Malone and Mason Jones lead the league in scoring, each with 14 points.

Injuries starting to add up for Leafs

After having to sit a few players due to numbers, Leaf management is now beginning to see a few injuries add up on the roster.

Dooley said netminder Jason Sandhu is out due to a lower body injury while Eamonn Miller and Jacob Karran are both out of the lineup due to upper body injuries.

Dooley said all three players are expected back soon.

Dooley said Spencer Selby missed some of the games at the start of the season because of his carding approval through hockey Alberta.

‘We signed (Spencer) late in the tryout process and and by the time his transfer went through all the necessary steps it wasn’t until after our first twogames he was approved.”

Wounded Nitehawks

The Nitehawks will be again missing two players for Friday’s game against Nelson.

Tyler Hartman and McKoy Hauck were hit with two-game suspensions for multiple fights during the stoppage of play.

The suspensions were picked up in the September 23 game against Grand Forks forcing the pair to miss Saturday’s game against Nelson.

Grand Forks and Beaver Valley combined for more than 200 minutes in penalties during the game, won 5-2 by Grand Forks.

This was the second time this season Grand Forks and Beaver Valley players spent more time in the penalty box than on the player’s bench.

Grand Forks goalie Anthony Gilliart and Rylan Smaha-Muir also received two-game suspensions.

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