Leafs need overtime to secure Game one of Murdoch Semi
The nightmare season continues for the Grand Forks Border Bruins.
The Boundary City squad played well enough to win, but in the end, it was the Nelson Leafs securing Game one of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Murdoch Division Semi Final Friday night at the NDCC Arena.
Ryan Cooper ended any hopes of an opening game upset by the fourth-place Bruins, scoring a power play goal in the first overtime period to give the Leafs a thrilling 3-2 victory.
The win, the nine straight this season for the Green and White over Grand Forks, gives Nelson a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with the teams taking to the ice in the Heritage City for Game two Saturday.
Cooper scored the winner with the Leafs on a two-man advantage after Bruins Hunter Harrison and Yoan Rodrigue took penalties 15 seconds apart in the extra frame.
After a scoreless first period, Rilee Poffenroth opened the scoring five minutes into the second period.
Brent Headon tied the game late in the frame.
Nicholas Wihak gave Nelson a 2-1 lead early in the third, scoring on the power play.
However, a goal by Dalton Luce four minutes later tied the game to send the teams into overtime to settle the contest.
Nelson outshot the Bruins 31-22 to allow Josh Williams to register the win in goal for the Leafs.
Former Nelson netminder Quinn Yeager took the loss in goal for Grand Forks.
Wihak and Jack Karran led the Leafs, each registering two points.
The game was the first for Karran, who suffered a lower body injury February 2nd against Columbia Valley.
In the other Murdoch Division Semi Final, Shawn Campbell scored twice to lead Castlegar past Beaver Valley 5-3 in the Sunflower City.
Tanner Costa, finishing the game with three points, Reid Wilson and Ed Lindsay also scored for Castlegar, which held period leads of 2-1 and 4-2.
Jake Yuris, Jaxen Gemmell and Kevan McBean replied for the Nitehawks.
Castlegar outshot Beaver Valley 35-32.
Tanner Douglas was in goal for Castlegar while Owen Sikkes took the loss between the pipes for the Hawks.
Game two is back in Castlegar Saturday.
GAME NOTES: Nelson played the game without the services of the team’s leading scorer, Sawyer Hunt. Leaf defenceman Dash Thompson also did not play. . . . Leafs called up Keenan Crossman from the Kootenay Ice of the BC Major Midget League. . . . Before the game, Murdoch Division Vice President Andrew Carr presented the Leafs with the Murdoch Division Regular Season banner as well as individual awards to Nelson’s Ryan Cooper and goalie Josh Williams.