You can smell that home cooking, and the Leafs like it a lot after sweeping three NDCC games against Grand Forks, Creston and Osoyoos

first_imgBy Bruce FuhrThe Nelson Daily SportsJust think what might happen if the Nelson Leafs played all of their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League games at home?Can you say victory party down Baker Street?I knew you could.The Leafs continue to take care of business at the NDCC Arena, using two-goal performances by Nik Newman and Brent Norman to edge the defending KIJHL Champion Osoyoos Coyotes 5-3 Sunday afternoon in the Heritage City.The win increases the lead for Nelson in the Murdoch Division to three points over idle Beaver Valley and five over third place Castlegar.“I’d say we had a good (three games) with great (contributions) from everyone all weekend,” said Leaf head coach Frank Maida when asked if the teams like its home cooking.Nelson’s secret to its early success has been to get off to a good start.The Leafs employed the strategy Friday against Grand Forks, out scoring the Bruins 4-1 during the opening frame.Saturday against Creston, two goals in the first period stake the home side to a 2-1 lead.Sunday Norman scored twice while Newman and Colton Malmsten added singles around goals by Zach Lindsay and Thierry Martine of the Coyotes to give the Leafs the two-goal advantage.After a scoreless second period Newman gave Nelson a three-goal lead with his sixth goal of the season.Lindsay, with his second of the game, cut the margin to two less than a minute later on the power play.But Leaf goalie Andrew Walton slammed the door on the Coyote shooters to register his third win of the season.“Everyone is buying into the program . . . they’re buying into the systems and working hard in every game,” Maida said about the key to the early season success.Nelson, improving to 4-1-0-1 at home, out shot the Coyotes 34-31.And the home stand continues Tuesday when the Leafs face Murdoch rival Beaver Valley at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.“It’s very important to establish a good home record,” Maida said. “It helps the players gain confidence.”“We’ve got a lot of rookies on this team so having them play well helps them gain that confidence,” Maida added.Sprinkled amongst the rookies are a few seasoned veterans. The Leafs added another veteran to the mix when the team acquired Jonathan Petrash via the free agent marker.The 20-year-old defenceman had been released by the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.Once Maida got wind of the news, he quickly put in a call to the 6-foot, 192-pound red head.“I calledl Jonathan and told him we’d like him to come to Nelson and be one of our leaders,” Maida said. “Jon’s played for Simon (Wheeldon) and I so he knows our systems and it’s the same system that Calgary plays and has played excellent since he arrived.”EXTRA TIME: The Leafs played the game with only five defencemen after roster players Patrick Martens and Colton Schell were game-time scratches due to injury. The result saw Cameron Dobransky move up to the forward line. . . .Leaf winger Brett Norman moved up to second in Nelson scoring with his three-point game [email protected]last_img

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