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Nitehawks edge Leafs to advance to Kootenay Conference Final

Saturday's loss to Beaver Valley ended the KIJHL season for the Nelson Leafs.

Beaver Valley scored three unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Nelson Leafs 4-1 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Playoff action Saturday night at the Fruitvale Arena.

The win gives the Nitehawks the Murdoch Division Playoff title with a 4-2 best-of-seven series victory.

Beaver Valley now travels to the Bavarian City Tuesday to begin the Kootenay Conference Final against the defending KIJHL Champion Kimberley Dynamiters.

Nelson scored first in the game when Tyler Nypower beat Noah Decottignies in the Hawks’ net.

The lead, and the shutout streak of 86-plus minutes for Nelson affiliate goalie Tenzin Mint, came to an end when Paul Leroux scored in the second period to even the score at 1-1 after 40 minutes.

Luke Woodrow, Bradley Ross and Jared Stocks all scored in the third to send the Nitehawks through to the Conference Final.

Beaver Valley outshot the Leafs 37-26.

Decottignies, winning for the eighth time in 10 games, outdueled Mint in goal.

Mint, goalie with the Kootenay Ice Major Midget team, was tending the pipes for Nelson for the second consecutive game after the regular netminders, Caiden Kreitz and Hunter Young, were forced to the sidelines due to injury.

Kootenay Ice teammate Charles Curiston served as backup to Mint.

BLUELINES: Nelson forced a Game six with a 3-0 victory Friday at the NDCC Arena. . . . Leaf captain Jack Karran and Luke Woodrow of the Hawks were names Game Stars. . . More than 600 fans attended the game. . . .The loss in the Murdoch Final concludes what has to be deemed as a disappointment for the Nelson franchise, which won the regular season crown by a 13-point margin over the Nitehawks. Last season Nelson advanced to the Kootenay Conference Final against Kimberley. . . . The last time Nelson, finishing the season with a 41-18-2-0 record, won the KIJHL title came in 2009.