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Leafs edge Braves to grab lead in Murdoch Semi Final

Nelson needed a late third-period goal to edge Spokane Braves in Murdoch Division playoff action at the NDCC Arena. — The Nelson Daily photo

Nelson Leafs took a 2-0 lead in their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Playoff Series with the Spokane after the Green and White defeated the Braves 2-1 Wednesday night at the NDCC Arena.

The best-of-seven Murdoch Division Semi-Final Series now shifts to Spokane for Games three and four, Friday and Saturday. If necessary, Game five is back in Nelson at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.

Tulsen Fawcett scored the winning goal on the power play midway through the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. Fawcett, scoring with Mark Oestreich in the penalty box for butt-ending, combined with Jack Karran and Cole Wyatt to sneak the puck past Campbell Arnold in the Spokane nets.

Arnold came close to stealing the victory as the Leafs pummeled the Spokane net with 45 shots. Spokane sent 25 shots at Nelson goalie Caiden Kreitz.

Wyatt, scoring the first period for the home side, and Alex Moore, answering for Spokane in the second, exchanged goals. Both goalies, Kreitz and Arnold, earned Game Stars for their respective teams.

In other KIJHL playoff action:

  • Beaver Valley Nitehawks needed an overtime marker by Jared Stocks to edge the Grand Forks Border Bruins 5-4 Wednesday in Frutivale. Beaver Valley squandered a 3-0 first-period lead in the contest as Grand Forks scored three unanswered in the second frame to even the score. Josh Garlough-Bell scored twice to lead the Bruins. Bradley Ross had a pair for Beaver Valley. Game two goes Thursday in Fruitvale.
  • Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders each grabbed respective 2-0 leads in Eddie Mountain Semi Finals. Kimberley defeated Golden 5-3 while Fernie rocked Columbia Valley 6-0.
  • In the Okanagan Shuswap Conference, Kelowna Chiefs, Revelstoke Grizzlies and 100 Mile House Wranglers all took 2-0 leads. Kelowna defeated Osoyoos 3-1, Revelstoke edged Kamloops 3-1 and 100 Mile needed OT to beat Sicamous Eagles.
  • In Princeton, Summerland Steam evened the best-of-seven series with a 6-2 victory over the Posse.