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The skid continues as Nelson Leafs drops 3-2 decision to Fernie

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
November 6th, 2016

The tailspin continues for the Nelson Leafs.

Nolan Lagace scored less than a minute into the third period to snap a 2-2 tie lifting the Fernie Ghostriders to a 3-2 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the Nelson Leafs Saturday night at the NDCC Arena.

The loss is the fifth straight for Nelson, which is slowly falling out of the race for the top of the Murdoch Division after the Beaver Valley Nitehawks won its tenth consecutive game, 3-1 over Kimberley.

Nelson trails the Nitehawks by 10 points in Murdoch standings. Beaver Valley defeated the Leafs 3-1 Friday in Nelson.

“The last couple of games have been tough because we’ve had so many suspensions and injuries,” said Leaf captain Sawyer Hunt, finishing the game with two assists.

“But we’ve got a good team in that (dressing room). So we just need to get back to the rink, have a good week of practice and be ready when we play Castlegar Thursday.”

Twice the Leafs rallied from one-goal deficits Saturday.

Tyler Abbott beat Ben Kelsch in the Leafs nets to give the Riders a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Twelve seconds later, Dale Howell tied the game.

Riley Siebel scored early in the second period to regain the lead for Fernie.

But Jordan Unger pulled Nelson even on the power play before the period ended.

However, in the third the Leafs had no answer after Lagace jammed the puck past Kelsch seconds into the final frame.

Despite out shooting the Riders 10-6 in the period, Nelson failed to beat Fernie goalie Brandon Youngson to tie the game and force overtime.

Hunt, Howell, David Lenzin and Ryan Piva all had great chances to tie the game.

“You’ve got to give their goalie (Brandon Youngson) credit, he played well when we pressured him,” Hunt said.

“But it’s tough playing two games like that in two days short handed.”

For the third consecutive game the Leafs played minus a handful of players due to suspension and injuries.

Saturday Nelson welcomed defenceman Jacob Karran back to the lineup following his two-game sit, but was still missing defenceman Brent Headon, and forwards Jack Karran and Mason Mullaney to suspension.

All three players are expected back in the lineup when Nelson faces Castlegar.

Nelson finished the game out shooting the Ghostriders 32-23.

The Leafs dropped to third place in the Murdoch Division standings, a point behind Grand Forks Border Bruins, with an 8-6-2-0-1 record.

The Bruins edged Spokane Braves 5-4 in the Boundary City to leapfrog past Nelson.

The Leafs have little time to lick their wounds as the team travels to Castlegar Thursday to face the Rebels. And the Sunflower City squad will not be a pushover despite trailing the Leafs in the standings.

Castlegar has won three consecutive games after blasting Columbia Valley Rockies 7-2 Saturday in Invermere.

Next home game for Nelson is Saturday, November 26 when the Leafs host Grand Forks.

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