Following a December, well parts of the month, not to remember, the Nelson Leafs are starting January off like New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
The Leafs combined a stellar defence with an exploding offence to post wins over Murdoch rivals Beaver Valley, 4-1, and Castlegar, 12-3, in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action.
The wins run Nelson’s post-holiday-break streak to five and increase its lead in the Murdoch Division to nine points over second-place Beaver Valley.
Nelson scored three unanswered goals in the third period to edge visiting Beaver Valley 4-1 Friday at the NDCC Arena.
Tyler Nypower, Cole Wyatt and Shawn Campbell scored to give the Leafs a victory in the Murdoch Showdown.
Kevin Duguid, converting a first-period breakaway, and Reid Wilson exchanged goals during the first 40 minutes. Leafs goalie Hunter Young stopped 24 of 25 shots to register the win.
Saturday, Nelson took out some frustration on the lowly Rebels after Castlegar defeated the Leafs the last time the two clubs met in the Sunflower City.
Ex-Rebel Shawn Campbell, Cole Wyatt and Michael LeNoury each had four points to lead the Leafs — Campbell and Wyatt scoring twice. Another ex-Rebel, Reid Wilson also had two goals along with David Sanchez.
Tyler Nypower, Mitchell Lavoie, Jack Karran and Josh Stypka added singles. Colby Winia scored twice to lead the Rebels scoring with Blaine Krona adding a single.
Young once again was solid between the pipes to register the win in goal for the Leafs. Nelson outshot the Rebels 50-25 in the game. Cedric Lesieur surrendered all 12 goals in the Castlegar nets.
ICE CHIPS: Only two skaters on the Nelson roster failed to register against Castlegar Saturday night. . . . The Leafs get another shot at defending KIJHL Champion Kimberley when the Nitros visit the NDCC Arena Friday. Kimberley, leading the Kootenay Conference with 59 points with a 29-4-1-0 record, trails Kelowna Chiefs for the overall lead in the league by six points. The Dynamiters have won both games against the Kootenay Conference Division leaders this season . . . Nelson completes its two-game home stand Saturday against Grand Forks Border Bruins.