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Leafs edge Braves in Murdoch Division Playoff Preview

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
February 24th, 2019

Hockey fans received a taste of the upcoming Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Murdoch Division Semi Final Series between Nelson and Spokane Saturday at the NDCC Arena.

In what promises to be a closer series than a usual one-versus-four matchup, Shawn Campbell’s third-period goal snapped a 1-1 tie sparking the Leafs to a 2-1 victory over the Braves. The loss keeps the Braves fourth overall in Murdoch Division standings.

Keenan Crossman and Enegren exchanged first period goals in the tightly-played contest. There was no scoring in the second before Campbell netted the winner with the man advantage six minutes into the third period.

Nelson outshot the Braves 31-26 as Leaf goalie Caiden Kreitz won for the 17th time this season. Campbell Arnold, steady between the pipes for Spokane, took the loss in goal for the Braves.

Grand Forks secured third in the division by dumping Nelson 4-1 Friday in the Boundary City.

The Border Bruins, winners of four straight down the stretch to secure third in the Murdoch Division, meet Beaver Valley Nitehawks beginning Wednesday in Fruitvale.

Meanwhile, the Leafs and Braves, two teams that have formed an intense dislike for each other, kick off the post season Tuesday in Nelson at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.

Game two is Wednesday, also at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena before the best-of-seven series shifts to the Lilac City for Games three and four, Friday, and Saturday. If necessary, the series returns to Nelson for Game five Monday, March 4.

Should the series go the distance, Game six will be in Spokane Tuesday, March 5 and Game seven, Wednesday March 6.

Bruins remain hot, halt Leafs win streak

Evan Gorman scored twice in the second period to power Grand Forks to a 4-1 victory over Murdoch Division leading Nelson Leafs Friday in the Boundary City.

Jake Huculak and Josh Garlough-Bell added singles for the Bruins, which stopped Nelson’s win streak at seven games. Kalem Hanlon scored the lone goal for the Leafs.

Ross King outdueled KIJHL’s top goal Caiden Kreitz in the next to secure the win in goal. Kreitz lost for just the third time this season. Nelson outshot the Bruins 43-40.

LEAF NOTES: Leaf Captain Jack Karran saw his nine-game point streak halted Friday in Grand Forks. During the streak, Karran registered 18 points, including 13 assists. The Grande Prairie native finished the regular season with 27 goals and 34 assists, good enough for 10th in KIJHL scoring. . . . Leafs netminder Caiden Kreitz finished the season as the KIJHL's top goalie with a 1.83 average, edging Adam Anderson of Kimberley for the title. Kreitz, 17-3 on the season, also had a .935 save percentage. . . . Nelson holds a 4-2 season record over the Braves entering the first round of the Murdoch Division Playoffs. . . . In 2018, Nelson led Grand Forks 3-0 before the Bruins rallied for three straight wins. The Leafs secured the series, winning Game seven at home. . . . Nelson went onto to claim the Murdoch Playoff title before losing to eventual KIJHL Champion Kimberley Dynamiters in the Kootenay Conference Final. . . . Nelson defenceman Kaleb Comishin and Michael LeNoury did not play due to injury. Both are expected to return to the lineup for Tuesday’s opening game. . . . Nelson will be missing forwards David Sanchez (lower body) and Logan Wullum (season-ending-injury). . . . The hockey club held its Autism Bottle Drive Saturday. The fundraiser is in coordination with the Nelson Leafs Autism Awareness Campaign in the month of February. The monies collected from the bottle drive will help support local programs for individuals who are on the Autism Spectrum.

Leaf players sort through recycling during Saturday's Autism Bottle Drive at the Bottle Depot. — Submitted photo

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