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Leafs take care of business against Spokane Braves

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
October 16th, 2016

At this stage of the season it’s all about taking care of business.

Andy Fitzpatrick scored twice to spark the Nelson Leafs to a 4-1 decision over the lowly Spokane Braves in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Saturday night at the NDCC Arena.

The win, the third on home ice in as many games, keeps Nelson perfect against the cellar-dwelling Braves — a team the Leafs must beat to have any chance of winning the Murdoch Division.

“These were very big points for us,” said Leaf defenceman Dash Thompson following the game.

“We’ve had a pretty good start to the season so these wins should help keep us going.”

Nelson dominated the Braves through the first 30 minutes of the game but was only able to muster a pair of goals.

Fitzpatrick and Sam Weber scored less than a minute apart in the first period to give the Leafs the early lead.

However, the Leafs took the foot off the gas pedal allowing the Braves to get a late second period goal by Andrew Clark to cut the lead in half.

Clark’s goal deflected off a Leaf defenceman over the shoulder of netminder Devin Allen.

Nelson was able to withstand the press from the Braves in the third before scoring a couple of late goals by Fitzpatrick and Sawyer Hunt to secure the win.

“We’re getting shots, but we’ve got to start to bury our chances when we get them,” Thompson said.

Nelson outshot the Braves by a wide 49-22 advantage.

Allen won for the third time in three starts for Nelson.

Newcomer Mason Mullaney, Fitzpatrick and Kolten Nelson each finished the game with two points for Nelson.

Nelson, improving to 7-4-0-0-1, trails Murdoch leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks by one point in the standings.

The Hawks, winners of four straight games, edged Golden Rockets 3-1 at the Fruitvale Arena.

ICE CHIPS: Nelson out scored the opposition 13-7 on the recent home stand, posting wins against Castlegar, Grand Forks and Spokane. . . . The goal by Sawyer Hunt was the first in five games for the Nelson native. . . . Andy Fitzpatrick finished the weekend with three goals, including the winner Friday against Grand Forks.  . . . Leafs travel to Fruitvale to face the Hawks Friday before returning to host Columbia Valley Rockies Saturday. The game is the first against Eddie Mountain Division opposition for Nelson. . . . Nelson coach Mario DiBella said there will be a decision this week regarding the netminding position on the club. Currently Nelson has four goalies in camp with Jason Sandhu on the injury list.

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