The Nelson Leafs are hoping a few tweaks to the lineup at the BC Hockey January 10 roster deadline will make all the difference in the Green and White’s attempt at a long run in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
Leaf General Manager Lance Morey said Nelson added, speed, size and toughness with the acquisition of defenceman Andrew Gates and forward Shawn Grobowsky to the roster prior to the deadline.
Gates, 6’2”, 205-pounds, came to Nelson from Chicago Cougars of the U.S. Premier Hockey League while the 5’9”, 170-pound Grobowsky was acquired from the Golden Rockets of the Eddie Mountain Division.
Morey said Gates has been in Nelson training with the team. Leaf management hope to have the Illinois native carded and in the lineup Friday when Nelson hosts defending KIJHL Champion Kimberley Dynamiters at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.
Meanwhile, Grobowsky has been on the Leafs radar for some time as Morey said Nelson attempted to land the speedy forward during the offseason.
However, Grobowsky, with four goals and six assists in 30 games this season with the Rockets, decided to sign with the Kootenay Conference rival to play with his brother.
Bring on the Nitros
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, entering the weekend as one of the hottest teams in the KIJHL riding a five-game winning streak, completes its two-game home stand Saturday against Grand Forks Border Bruins. During the recent hot streak Nelson has outscored its opponents 28-11.
No word from the Leafs camp which goalie — Caiden Kreitz or Hunter Young — will start. Both have been stellar between the pipes for Nelson, dropping only four games between the pair.
Moves bring roster to 23 players
To make room for Gates and Grobowsky, Nelson sent defenceman Tyson Soobotin to Castlegar Rebels.
Morey said the Leafs wantedto find Soobotin a place to play and be in a good organization.
Nelson did not request compensation in the deal.
Nelson is getting healthy after a troubling December when management had difficulty dressing a full lineup without the assistance of affiliate players.
Morey reports Scott Lancaster is out for the remainder of the season with an upper body injury while forward Logan Wullum is nursing an upper body injury and could be out of the lineup for another week or two.