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Nitros provide early season test for Leafs

Nelson's Bryden Pow and the rest of the Leafs travel to Kimberley before hosting Sicamous in KIJHL weekend action. — Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily

Not the best start of the season for the Nelson Leafs.

But as one player put it, we’re just getting started.

The Green and White are back in action for Week Two of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Friday when the club travels to Kimberley to meet the defending Kootenay Conference Champions.

The Nitros posted a pair of wins to open the season over Beaver Valley Nitehawks, in extra time, and Osoyoos Coyotes to pull into a tie for top spot in the Eddie Mountain Division.

Meanwhile, the Leafs struggled out of the gates, dropping a 3-2 OT decision to visiting Fernie Ghostriders before being steamrolled by Creston Valley Thunder Cats 5-1 in the East Kootenay City.

“We are approaching the weekend games having learned that you need to play a full 60 minutes in this league to be successful,” said Leaf assistant coach Adam DiBella on the eve of the weekend games. 

“As always, we expect a hard-nosed physical brand of hockey that always seems to be the tone when we play Kimberley,” DiBella added.  “As for Sicamous we expect them to bring a youthful lineup with a new head coach.”

Leafs add forward

Nelson Leafs have added 18-year-old Tyler Pisiak to the lineup in a roster move earlier this week.

Adam DiBella said Pisiak is speedy winger with size and can put the puck in the net. 

Pisiak comes to Nelson after playing the past four seasons with the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

Captain Sanchez still not ready for prime time

DiBella said Leaf Captain David Sanchez will be kept out of the lineup for both games against Kimberley and Sicamous.

The 20-year-old forward from Fahler, AB, is rehabbing from a lower body injury.

DiBella said Sanchez will not play this weekend but is progressing and will be back in the lineup sooner rather than later. 

Nelson native Curt Doyle gets start against Nitros

Nelson Minor Hockey product Curt Doyle will get the start Friday in Kimberley.

Doyle struggled during the first two games, getting the hook in the first period of the home opener against Fernie.

He came in relief of starter Carlos Siso Saturday in Creston.

Nelson now has three goalies in camp after the coaching staff brought in 18-year-old Josh Bond.