Today’s Poll

Leafs host Nitehawks in annual New Year's Eve Clash

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

As common as octopi hitting the ice in Detroit for a Red Wings NHL game, the Nelson Leafs teams host hockey games with a New Year’s Day twist.

The tradition began during the Western International Hockey League days when the Senior Maple Leafs clashed with archrival Spokane Jets in the annual New Year’s Day clash.

After the Senior Maple Leafs folded, the tradition was rekindled at the junior level, shifting back a day to New Year’s Eve when Nelson was a member of the Rocky Mountain Junior A Hockey League.

When Nelson returned to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, the New Year’s Eve contest remained.

New Year’s Eve games have been very friendly to the hometown Leafs as Nelson holds a 7-4 record dating back to 2005.

Beaver Valley Nitehawks have been the opposition for eight of those 11 games with Spokane Braves providing the opposition in 2011 and 2010 and Castlegar Rebels in 2009.

Nelson was winless from 2011 to 2014 when Beaver Valley, winners of three straight, and Spokane Braves played spoiler before the Buds returned to the win column last year against the Hawks, scoring a 7-4 victory.

Hawks bring winning machine to Nelson

The Nitehawks promise to be a major test for the Leafs as the Green and White struggle to get back into the Murdoch Division race.

Beaver Valley, 5-2 in December and winners of 20 of the past 22 games, may be out of reach for the Leafs. The Hawks, tops in the KIJHL with 49 points, clinched a playoff spot with Wednesday’s 6-2 victory over Castlegar Rebels.

Beaver Valley, leading the KIJHL in points, is joined by Kimberley Dynamiters and Creston Valley Thunder Cats as three teams that have already clinched postseason berths.

Second place still in reach for Leafs

Second-place in the standings remains in the sights of the Leafs as Nelson trails Grand Forks Border Bruins by three points in the Murdoch Division.

The Bruins just happen to be the next up for Nelson as the Leafs return from the Christmas Holiday break Friday with a game in the Boundary City against Grand Forks.

Nelson, 15-15-0-0-2, hopes to continue its revival after seeing its six game winning streak snapped before the break by Kimberley Dynamiters 4-2 in the Bavarian City.

Get ready for some Home Cooking

After Friday’s game in Grand Forks, Nelson begins a 10-game home stand beginning Saturday against Beaver Valley.

Nelson has 16 games remaining on the regular season schedule.

Categories: Sports

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