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UPDATED: Border Bruins take stranglehold on Murdoch Division Series against Leafs

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
February 27th, 2024

The Grand Forks Border Bruins are one victory away from advancing to the Neil Murdoch Division Final.

The Bruins rolled to a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-2 win over the Nelson Leafs in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoff action before more than 640 fans Tuesday at the NDCC Arena.

Grand Forks, leading the best-of-seven series 3-1, jumped to a 1-0 lead after one period on a goal by Levi Astill.

Astill sparked a three-goal second period with his second of the game, giving the visitors a commanding 4-0 advantage after 40 minutes. Tyler Burke and JP Desabrais also scored in the second frame.

Nelson broke through Bruins starter Ethan Shebansky when Kane Kennedy scored five minutes into the third.

But Ray Warrack ended all hopes of a comeback scoring a shorthanded empty net marker late in the period when Nelson pulled goalie Jackson McLeod for an extra attacker.

Seamus Boyd concluded the scoring for Nelson, adding a late marker on the power play.

Nelson outshot Grand Forks 40-33.

Leafs starter in goal Karl Soneff, who had been outstanding between the pipes for Nelson, was pulled in favour of McLeod after Desabrais scored in the second period.

The series shifts back to the Boundary City Friday for Game five with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

If necessary, Game six is Saturday at the NDCC Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.

The winner of the series advances to the Murdoch Division Final against Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

The Hawks swept past the Castlegar Rebels, clinching the series with a 3-2 victory Tuesday in the Sunflower City.

Beaver Valley built a 3-0 lead midway through the game on goals by Tim Josza, Ethan Smyth and Boris Hristov before the Rebels rallied for two goals by Josh Gamble in the second frame and Evan Calder, in the third period.

Beaver Valley outshot the Rebels 38-31 making a winner out of goalie Connor Stojan.

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Border Bruins rally past Leafs in OT to take 2-1 lead in Murdoch Semi Final Series

For the second time in three games the Grand Forks Border Bruins were able to pull a win of of their hat.

And the Boundary City team can thank a red hot power play for giving the Border Bruins a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Neil Murdoch semi final against the Nelson Leafs.

Chad Bates scored at 8:01 of the first overtime — four seconds after Quinn Ramsay of the Leafs was whistled for a tripping penalty — to spark the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Leafs in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoff action before more than 700 fans Monday at the NDCC Arena.

Grand Forks has scored six times in 12 attempts with the man advantage in three games of the series.

Nelson appeared poised to take the lead in the series when Ramsay scored the go-ahead marker midway through the third period, snapping a 1-1 tie.

However — you guessed it — the Bruins tied the game at 2-2 with another power play goal when Ben Edwards scored past Nelson goalie Karl Soneff with less than three minutes in regulation time.

Kieran Christianson, scoring on the Leafs first shot of the game, and Edwards exchanged first-period goals in a frame dominated by the Bruins.

Grand Forks opened the series with another come-from-behind 4-3 victory Friday at the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena in the Boundary City.

Nelson led 3-1 seconds into the third period on goals by Crae Dawson, Christianson and Parker White.

But five consecutive penalties by the Leafs led to two power play goals by JP Desabrais and Nate Tillmanns to even the score at 3-3 in regulation time.

Levi Astill won the game for the home side at 13:58 of overtime giving Grand Forks the early lead in the series.

Nelson bounced back to tie the series Saturday in Grand Forks, combining timely scoring with a sizzling hot goalie in Karl Soneff to edge the Bruins 1-0.

Leighton Partington scored the lone goal of the game midway through the third period and Soneff stopped all 39 shots to power the Leafs win.

In three games Soneff has been “all-world” for the Leafs, facing 139 shots while allowing only seven goals.

Ethan Shebansky has been the starter in goal for the Bruins, registering his second win of the series Monday in Nelson.

Tempers flared between the Leafs and Bruins during the first period of Monday’s KIJHL playoff game at the NDCC Arena. — The Nelson Daily photo

Beaver Valley in control

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks needed overtime to shake off the pesky Castlegar Rebels 4-3 and take a 3-0 stranglehold on the Murdoch Division Semi Final.

Lohgan Nimmo was the hero for the Hawks who can wrap up the series Tuesday night in the Sunflower City.

In other KIJHL playoffs:

Kimberley Dynamiters got back into its series with Columbia Valley Rockies with a 4-3 win in Invermere. The Rockies lead the best-of-seven Eddie Mountain semi final 2-1 with Game four Tuesday in Invermere.

Fernie Ghostriders and Creston Valley Thunder Cats resume their series with Game three of the Eddie Mountain semi final Tuesday in Creston. The series is tied 1-1

Princeton Posse and Kelowna Chief play Game four of the Bill Ohlhausen Division semi final Tuesday in Kelowna with Princeton leading 2-1.

North Okanagan can sweep out Osoyoos Coyotes with a win Tuesday on the road in the South Okanangan in the Bill Ohlhausen Division semi final. The Knights defeated the Coyotes 5-0 Monday in Osoyoos.

Kamloops Storm lost 4-0 to Sicamous Eagles Monday in Doug Birks Division semi final action in Kamloops. The Eagles lead the series 2-1. Game four is Tuesday in Kamloops.

Revelstoke Grizzlies and Chase Heat resume the Doug Birks Division semi final series Tuesday in Chase with the Grizzlies leading 2-0.

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