Today’s Poll

Showdown Weekend In KIJHL

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
October 26th, 2018

It’s a pair of home games that won’t determine the final standings but should go a long way in measuring the progress of the Nelson Leafs Hockey Club.

This weekend, the Green and White play not one, but two of the top teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League — Kelowna Chiefs and Kimberley Dynamiters — at the NDCC Arena. Both games have a 7 p.m. puck drop.

Friday, it’s arguably the best team in BC coming to town as the Kelowna Chiefs visit the Heritage City. In 14 games to date, the Chiefs have dropped only a single point to sit atop the KIJHL standings.

“I think the boys should not need any more motivation then knowing they are playing two of the best teams in the league this weekend,” said Leaf GM Lance Morey on the eve of the biggest weekend of the season.

“In saying that when you are a top team like the Leafs every team is coming in looking to not just compete, but to knock us off,” Morey added.

Morey said the Leafs will have their hands full trying to contain the Chiefs’ Three-Headed Monster, in Brody Dale, Zach Erhardt and Devin Sutton. The trio just happen to lead the KI in scoring, respectively, with Dale on pace for a 100-plus point season.

“It’s fair to say trying to neutralize the top line on the Chiefs is a key,” Morey explained. “And it will be easier said than done. Kelowna also has good goal tending so we need to get lots of shots and make seeing the puck difficult for their netminder.”

Saturday, it’s a rematch of last year’s Kootenay Conference Final, won in six games by Kimberley. The Nitros enter the contest as the top team in the Eddie Mountain Division, sporting a 11-3 record.

However, Kimberley trails the 13-1-0-1-1 Leafs in the Kootenay Conference standings by four points entering the weekend.

“Kimberley is always good, and it goes without saying they will be ready for us . . . they work hard and are well coached,” Morey said. “Shutting down (Brock) Palmer’s line will be a challenge but I think we can do that if the team plays disciplined and does not give them to many chances.”

Palmer, ninth overall in the KIJHL scoring race, leads the Nitros with 19 points, including 16 assists as the Alberta natives continues to play the role as set-up man for Kimberley.

Nelson enters the game without the services of its top goalie as Caiden Krietz continues to nurse an upper body injury. Kreitz, who missed last weekend’s games against Beaver Valley and Golden, is the top goalie in the KIJHL with a 9-1 record and a 1.51 goals against average.

Nelson will go with backup C.J. Wedenig, who has been equally impressive for Nelson with a 5-0 record.

BLUELINES: Both Kelowna and Nelson enter the game riding seven game winning streaks while Kimberley has won two straight. . . . Ryan Piva of the Leafs leads the team in scoring with 30 points. The Trail native is fourth overall in KIJHL scoring. . . .Nelson has been rock-solid at home, going 9-0-0-0-1. The Leafs have played seven games at home during the month of October and now venture out on the road for November, with only two home dates in seven games.

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