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Riders, Thunder Cats rain on Leafs opening weekend

Leaf goalie Carlos Siso gets a little help from teammate Ryan Janowski during first period action of Friday’s KIJHL home opener against Fernie Ghostriders at the NDCC Arena. — Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily

It’s been said it’s not how you start the race, but how you finish.

So there remains plenty of time for the Nelson Leafs to build for the stretch run in this Kootenay International Junior Hockey League after the Buds dropped three of four points against Eddie Mountain Division teams.

Fernie Ghostriders started the downer Friday, scoring in overtime to edge the Leafs 3-2 at the NDCC Arena.

Saturday, in Creston, the Thunder Cats exploded for four first period goals en route to a 5-1 thrashing the of the Leafs.

Against the Riders, Daniel Lindeman scored on the power play in the second overtime period to power Fernie past the Leafs.

Twice the Rider held one goal leads on the Leafs, only to see the home side rally to tie the game — the second marker coming in the final minutes of the third period by Lane Goodwin to force the overtime.

However, Bryden Pow took a slashing penalty in the second overtime period to open the door for the Riders to steal the win.

Jordan Kromm and Johnny Elias scored for Fernie. Reid Wilson, a snapshot from the right side of the ice, had the other marker for the Leafs.

Nelson outshot Fernie by a 41-25 margin.

Both goalies saw action for the Leafs.

Curt Doyle started the game but was pulled in favour of rookie backstop Carlos Siso after Fernie’s first goal in the opening frame.

Ethan Fitzgerald registered the win in goal for the Ghostriderss.

Saturday, the Thunder Cats blitzed Nelson for four goals in an 11 minute span during the first period to skate to the victory.

Travis Thorhaug got the party started with a shorthanded marker before Carson Small, Logan Berggren and Ty Grisdale also scored.

Josh Dalquist added to the lead with a second-period goal to make the score 5-0 after 40 minutes.

Newcomer Lane Goodwin scored Nelson’s only goal on the power play midway through the third period to spoil the shutout bid by Riley O’Laney of the Cats.

Siso started in goal for Nelson before giving way to backup Doyle nine minutes into the contest after Creston’s third goal.

Shots were even at 27-27.

Nelson, starting the season 0-1-0-0-1, travels to Kimberley to meet the KIJHL Finalist Kimberley Dynamiters Friday in the Bavarian City.

Kimberley is tied with Creston for top spot in the Eddie Mountain Division, each with a pair of wins.

Sunday, Nelson welcomes Sicamous Eagles for a rare afternoon tilt at 2 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.

LEAFS NOTES: Nelson unveiled its leadership group prior to Friday’s opener. Heading up the team is Captain David Sanchez with assistants Kaleb Comishen, Shawn Grobowsky and Reid Wilson named as alternates. . . . Leafs forward Tyler Badger missed the home opener after picking up a one-game suspension during the exhibition season. . . . Castlegar, Beaver Valley, Grand Forks and Spokane are all tied for top spot in the Neil Murdoch Division, each with two points following week one.