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Leafs, Rebels set to tangle in Murdoch Division battle

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
September 28th, 2018

It will be a tale of two teams heading in opposite directions when the Castlegar Rebels invade the NDCC Arena Friday to tangle with the Nelson Leafs in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action.

The Leafs have been perfect, winning all six starts, to open the KIJHL season while the Rebels have struggled, accumulating a meager two points in four games.

Part of the Rebels troubles can be attributed to a measly three, count them, three goals of offence — which officially dried up last weekend as Castlegar was shutout twice by Summerland and Fernie.

Meanwhile, Nelson, led by sniper Ryan Piva, has been playing well enough to lead the Murdoch Division by four points over Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

“We are still tweaking things as we move forward,” said Leafs GM Lance Morey.

“We have up to eight possible players that could be coming to Nelson from various Junior A clubs.”

“But each player will be assessed when and if they become available and if we feel that they can help us long term without disrupting what I would call a very closely-knit group already in the dressing room,” Morey added.

Morey said Friday’s encounter with Castlegar could be the first test of the season for netminder C.J. Wedenig.

Wedenig has watched from the sidelines to start the season as veteran Caiden Kreitz piled up a 6-0 record in goal.

Nelson will be without the services of forward Keenan Crossman while teammate Shawn Campbell is questionable with a lower body injury.

Crossman’s upper body injury will keep the Trail native out of the lineup for up to eight weeks.

Morey said newcomer Tyler Nypower will play alongside sniper Piva this weekend.

Morey said Nypower is a good playmaker who plays with an edge.

“I think the coaches are happy with our overall talent and speed, but we have yet to play a full 60 minutes in any game this year,” Morey said.

Saturday, in Columbia Valley against the Rockies, Nelson will get speedy forward Logan Wullum back in the lineup. Wullum missed last Saturday’s win in Grand Forks, and Friday’s game against Castlegar, after being tagged with a two-game suspension for head contact.

Categories: Sports