Smoler rescues Bruins to force Game five in Murdoch Semi Final
It took more than 10 games, but the Grand Fork Border Bruins have finally got off the schneid against the Nelson Leafs.
Riley Smoler scored the winner with seven minutes remaining in the game to lift the Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the Leafs in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Playoff action Tuesday night in the Boundary City.
Nelson still leads the best-of-seven Murdoch Division Semi Final 3-1 with Game five Thursday at the NDCC Arena.
Smoler combined with Rylan Smaha-Muir to beat Josh Williams in the Nelson nets to snap the 1-1 tie.
Nelson’s Michael Bladon and Keaghan Holub for Grand Forks exchanged second-period goals.
Smoler also added an insurance marker into the empty net to complete the scoring.
The difference in this game was the play in goal by Bruins starter Ross King, seeing his first action of the series.
The Olds, Alberta native stopped 43 of 44 shots to register the win in goal.
King replaced Grand Forks series starter Quinn Yeager in the third period of Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Leafs.
Meanwhile, in Fruitvale, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks held off a late third-period charge to edge Castlegar Rebels 7-6 to even the Murdoch Semi Final 2-2.
Nolan Percival and Kevan McBean each scored twice as the Hawks broke open a close game with a five-goal second period to lead 7-3 going into the third — three of the goals coming in the power play.
Ren Mason, Brandon Costa and Ed Lindsay scored in the third to cut the lead to 7-6.
However, the Rebels could not tally the equalizer as the series now moves to a best-of-three with Game five Thursday in the Sunflower City and Game six back in Fruitvale Friday.
OVERTIME: The two goals by Riley Smoler gives the Bruins forward four for the series and the playoff scoring lead for Grand Forks. Trey Mason, the leading scorer during the regular season for the Bruins with 67 points, has been limited to just one assist in four games. . . .Tuesday, saw the return of Leaf captain Sawyer Hunt to the lineup. The Nelson Minor Hockey grad had missed the past five games — two during the regular season and three in the playoffs — due to injury. Hunt was named Nelson’s Game Star during Tuesday’s contest. . . .Leaf defencemen Zach Morey and Dash Thompson did not play.