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Stingy Defence keys Leafs early season success

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
September 29th, 2017


That would be the understatement of this early Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season.

Call it, maybe, highway robbery as goalies Josh Williams and Quinn Yeager of the Nelson Leafs have almost single-handily lifted the Green and White to near the top of the KIJHL overall standings a month into the season.

The tandem currently leads the league in goals allowed entering week four of the current Junior B Hockey campaign.

“Our goaltending has been very good,” said Leaf GM Lance Morey.

“(Josh) Williams is playing just the way I thought he would, and has been a real leader by example. He and Quinn Yeager are the two of the hardest workers every practice and their play reflects that.”

Not since Garrett Beckwith and Peter Alexander backstopped the Leafs to a KIJHL Championship in 2009 has Nelson had such a strong goaltending combo.

Williams, the KIJHL’s leading netminder with 1.00 goals against average, has started the season playing lights out hockey, registering three wins — two of the victories shutouts — as the Leaf coaching staff rotates the goalies.  

Rookie Yeager has been just as impressive, with a 2.55 goals against average and a win and a tie in three games.

Nelson travels to Grand Forks to face the Border Bruins in an early-season showdown in the Boundary City Friday.

The Leafs trail Murdoch-leading Grand Forks by a single point in division standings. The Border Bruins have played one more game.

Saturday, the Leafs return home following a three-game road trip to host the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

Nelson doubled Creston last week 6-3, thanks to a three-goal hat-trick by Jack Karran.

Injury free to start season

Heading into this weekend, Morey said Nelson is basically injury free.

“Both Logan Wullum and Michael Bladon have been medically cleared to play,” he said.

“It is likely Wullum will make his regular season debut Friday in Grand Forks while Bladon will likely make his first appearance on Saturday at home in the rematch of last weekend against Creston.”

Team packed in at the top

Grand Forks, Summerland and Princeton currently are locked in a three-way tie for top spot in the KIJHL.

Nelson is fourth with nine points with Kimberley and Kelowna next with eight.

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