A little R & R before the Leafs resume play in the KIJHL with a road swing to the south Okanagan

first_imgBy Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily SportsThe Nelson Leafs are taking advantage of some well-deserved rest after playing its league tying 12th game of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season Sunday in Spokane.Nelson is one of two KIJHL teams — the other being defending league champion Osoyoos Coyotes — to play a dozen games this early in the campaign — with the Leafs sporting an impressive 5-2-0-1 at home.“We’re happy to finally get some rest and get back on the ice to practice,” said Leaf coach Frank Maida of the early-season grind that has seen Nelson play three, three-game, weekends.“We’ll be focusing on time and space, taking time and space away from teams and being a little more aggressive on the puck,” Maida added.After assuming control of the helm on the Good Ship Leaf in August, Maida didn’t know what to expect this season.But he definitely likes what he sees as Nelson continues to hold down top spot in the always competitive Murdoch Division.“I’d say I’m very happy with our play,” Maida confessed. “If you had told me in August that after 12 games we’d have our record (to date) I would have been very happy.”“But we still have some fine tuning to do to get some consistency in our game,” he added. The addition of Jonathan Petrash has solidified the Leaf defensive core.So now that Nelson native Blake Arcuri is cleared to play, the defence should only get better in front of goalies Andrew Walton and Patrick Defoe.“(Blake) has been out for eight to ten months and has only been cleared for contact a week ago so we don’t want to rush him back,” Maida said.Arcuri saw his first action last week against Grand Forks, but was held out of the Kimberley game before returning Sunday in Spokane.“Blake looked good and his timing and conditioning will only get better with more game situations,” Maida said.Maida said winger Max Mois most likely would be back in the lineup when Nelson travels to the South Okanagan for games Friday in Summerland and Saturday in Penticton against the Lakers.Mois has been resting an upper body injury and missed the past few games.However, the news is not as good for 6’1”, 195-pound Dustin Reimer.The Vanderhoof product has been limited to one game after suffering an upper body injury during the season opener in Castlegar.OVERTIME: Summerland, 4-6, is fourth in the Okanagan Division while Penticton, 6-2, is second. The Steam are led offensively by hometown 20-year-old Colin Minardi, with 12 points in 10 games. . . . Penticton possesses a balanced scoring attack with seven players within the lead in team scoring nine points of Sean Alldridge. . . .In contrast Nelson scoring leader Matti Jmaeff has 20 points — 3G, 17A — in 12 games with Patrick Martens and Brett Norman two points behind. . . .Leaf coach Frank Maida said both Andrew Walton and Patrick Defoe will see action between the pipes this [email protected]last_img

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