Bear Hughes scored twice to power the Spokane Braves to a 6-4 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the Nelson Leafs Wednesday night in the Lilac City.
The loss is the third consecutive for Nelson, which had previously won seven straight games.
Hughes, Alex Enegren and Derek Humphries scored during a six-minute span in the first period to give the Braves a 3-0 lead and chase Leafs starter Tenzin Mint from the game.
Mint, called up from the Kootenay Ice of the BC Major Midget League, was inserted into the lineup to give the Leafs a boost and hopefully change the fortune of the Murdoch Division leaders.
With C.J. Wedenig back in goal, Nelson exploded for three markers in 92 seconds to tie the game as Tyler Nypower, Kaleb Comishin and Jack Karran scored for the Leafs.
However, penalties — Nelson was whistled for 28 minutes in the penalty box to six for Spokane — cost the Leafs in this game with Aaron Morris scoring on the power play before Alex Moore increased the margin to 5-3 before the period ended.
The teams exchanged goals in the third with Comishin closing the gap to 5-4 before Hughes put the game away with Spokane’s third power play goal of the game.
Nelson, still on top of the Murdoch Division with a 13-4-0-1 record, outshot the Braves by a 46-44 in the game. Mint was hit with the loss while Campbell Arnold registered the win in goal for Spokane. The Braves climbed into a tie with Beaver Valley behind Nelson, each team with 18 points.
The Leafs, finishing the month of October with a 7-3 record, are idle until the team travels to Chase to meet the Heat on November 9th.
Leafs turn to Kootenay Ice for help
Along with Tenzin Mint, Nelson called up defenceman Dawson Reinfjell for the game Wednesday in Spokane.
Reinfjell was inserted into the lineup for help due to the Michael LeNoury nursing a lower body injury picked up in the first period of Nelson’s loss to Kimberley Saturday.
The coaching staff is optimistic LeNoury will be back for the road trip to Chase and 100 Mile House next week.
Kreitz still on Injury List
Nelson starting goalie Caiden Kreitz continues to rehab an injury suffered in October.
The Calgary native has been out of the lineup for the pasts three weeks.
The break in the schedule is also good for Kreitz, who Nelson hopes to have back in the crease next week.