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Leafs meet Nitros in Conference Final, Nelson's Lautard earns Murdoch award

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
March 12th, 2022

The Nelson Leafs and Kimberley Dynamiters each advanced to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Conference Final after posting divisional-series victories Friday in Frutivale and Invemere.

Nelson rallied from a 3-0 deficit early in the second period to edge Beaver Valley Nitehawks 4-3 to clinch the best-of-seven Murdoch Division Final 4-2.

Meanwhile, Kimberley scored three consecutive times in the third period to dump Columbia Valley Rockies 6-2 to clinch the Eddie Mountain Final 4-2.

Nelson and Kimberley, each winning their respective Neil Murdoch and Eddie Mountain Divisions, open the best-of-seven Conference Final Tuesday in Kimberley.

The Conference Final starts in Kimberley after the Nitros edged the Leafs by a single point in the overall regular season standings.

Following a scoreless first period, the Murdoch Final appeared to be heading for a seventh game after the host Nitehawks opened a 3-0 lead on goals by Joel Smyth, Hunter Burgeson and Austin McKenzie five minutes into the second frame.

However, goals by Bennett Anklewich and Johnny Carmichael, the latter coming on the power play, pulled the Leafs to within one goal heading into the third period.

Nelson then tied the game midway through the third when Carmichael scored his second of the game before Anklewich converted the winner less than two minutes later.

Nelson controlled the play in the third, out shooting the Hawks 13-9 and 36-35 in the game.

Tenzin Mint stopped 33 of 36 shots to register his seventh win of the post season.

After Game two of the Conference Final Wednesday in Kimberley, the series shifts to the Heritage City for Games three and four, Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, at the NDCC Arena.

Leafs Tyson Lautard earns Sportsmanlike Award

The KIJHL announced its Most Sportsmanlike Player Awards for each division Friday, with defenceman Tyson Lautard of the Nelson Leafs winning the honour in the Neil Murdoch Division.

“It was pretty awesome,” Lautard told KIJHL Director of Communications, Emanuel Siqueira.

“It’s an honour and it’s nice to be recognized for something,” added Lautard, who served 14 minutes in penalties this season.

“I thought I played pretty well and stayed physical and worked hard.”

Other divisional winners included 

Lautard told Siqueira that he has always played a clean game and credits his father, who is a referee, for ensuring he plays that way all the time.

Lautard said he’s never wanted to take penalties to impact his team.

Lautard, who was second among Leaf defencemen in points with 27 points in 41 games, said he stepped up in a leadership role for their blueline group.

He also improved offensively, being more mobile, getting pucks through traffic and to the net.

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