Leafs escape Sunflower City with series split, game three Monday at NDCC Arena

first_imgBy Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson DailyThrough eight regular season games each team won four times.Each team won twice in the other team’s rink.So it should come to no one’s surprise that after two Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoff games the Castlegar Rebels and Nelson Leafs are knotted up at one game.Jonathon Petrash’s third-period power play goal proved to be the winner as the Leafs, thanks to the stellar netminder of former Rebel Andrew Walton, escaped with a 2-1 KIJHL playoff win Saturday in the Sunflower City.Castlegar opened the best-of-seven series, now tied up at 1-1, with a 5-1 win Friday.“This is big . . . especially on the road because this isn’t an easy building to win in,” said Leaf captain Tyler Parfeniuk from outside the winner’s dressing room.“But we’ll take anything we can get because (Castlegar) is tough team to play against.”Coming off the four-goal loss in a game the Leafs had more jitters than shots, the Green and White once again started slowly.However, in game two the Rebels didn’t get the early goals as Walton stoned the home side despite Nelson being out shot 12-4.“All year we’ve had faith in (Andrew) even if he has one bad game there’s not going to be too many that follow that so we know he’s going to bounce back,” Parfeniuk exclaimed.Walton’s play allowed the Leafs to hang around long enough to get the first goal of the game 39 minutes into the game.The all-Nelson line of Carsen Willans, Dallon Stoddart and Horswill, combined to spring Horswill in the slot and the Nelson Minor Hockey grad made no mistake beating Jordan Gluck for the game’s first goal. Nelson came close to making it 2-0 seconds later on the power play, but Gluck, down and out on the play, got some help from the iron as Matti Jmaeff rang his backhand shot off the post.The miss proved costly as seven minutes into the third period Scott Morriseau, the latest Leafs’ killer, potted his fourth of the series to even the game at 1-1 on the power play.The score remained the same until the 14-minute mark when Rebel captain Erik Alden was whistled for a roughing infraction.Off the ensuring draw, Jmaeff and line mate Colton Malmsten combined to get the puck back to Petrash who drilled a point shot past a screened Gluck.The goal was enough, after more than a few anxious moments, to get the Leafs back even in the series.“I don’t think I played that much different between last night and tonight, I just think we played a lot more team game and were lot better defensively than we were last night,” Walton said after the game.The anxious moments came compliments of a few mental errors by the Leafs as the team was whistled for nine minutes in penalties in the final 11 minutes of the game.“Ya, it was a little bit of a nail-biter at the end,” Walton admitted as his former mates pressed for the equalizer. “We were six-on-four so ya, it was a little crazy.”Nelson’s special teams were put to the test especially after defenceman Eric Spring was whistled for five-minute checking-from-behind penalty on Rebel forward Arthur Andrews.“It was a little demoralizing but you’ve got to work past that,” said Castlegar captain Erik Alden. “You’ve got to keep your head straight and keep your concentration.”“We’re going to regroup and come back Monday (in Nelson),” Alden added.Castlegar out shot the Leafs 37-26 including several shots in the dying minutes as Castlegar, with numerous power plays, surrounded the Nelson net.Games three and four go Monday and Tuesday at the NDCC Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.Game five is scheduled for Thursday in Castlegar.SERIES NOTES: The Leafs are going to lose the services of banging defenceman Eric Spring who was given a game misconduct along with his checking-from-behind penalty. The game misconduct comes with a one-game suspension . . . . Leafs Dallon Stoddart was wearing jersey No. 9 after his regular No. 10 road sweater went missing after a game in Grand Forks . . . . Winger James Sorrey and defenceman J.J. Beitel did not play in the first two games for Nelson . . . . Castlegar’s leading scorer Stuart Walton did not score, but had four assists during the first two games of the series . . . . Rebel sniper Scott Morriseau is tied with Connor Flynn of Sicamous and former Leaf and current Fernie Ghostrider Connor McLaughlin for the goal scoring lead, each has four goals. . . .Max Flanagan scored in overtime to give Beaver Valley a 4-3 victory over Spokane in game two of the Murdoch semi final. The Hawks, winners of game one 6-3, lead the series 2-0. Game three is Monday in Spokane.last_img

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