Hawks end Leafs season with 4-3 come-from-behind win in Game six of Murdoch semi final
The Nelson Leafs hockey season came to a crashing end shortly after 10 p.m. local time Friday.
That’s when a goal by Dallas Calvin capped a four-goal explosion to power the Hawks to a 4-3 come-from-behind Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory at the NDCC Arena.
Beaver Valley wins the best-of-seven Murdoch Division Semi Final 4-2.
Not only did the Hawks rally from a three-goal deficit Friday but after falling behind 2-1 to the Leafs, Beaver Valley won three straight to take the series in six games.
“We just talked about getting the momentum back,” Beaver Valley skipper Terry Jones said from the winner’s bench after the game.
“We just needed one shot to go in and be physical and get pucks down deep,” Jones added.
“And when we got that first one it seemed to relax the guys because we were really fighting the puck in the first two periods.”
Down a game in the series, the Leafs did everything right early.
Head coach Frank Maida looked like a genius starting Marcus Beesley in place of Brett Soles in the Leaf nets.
The rest of the Leafs responded by scoring twice in the opening frame — Dallon Stoddart and Colton Schell — to take a 2-0 lead.
Schell’s marker came on the power play.
J.J. Beitel, with his third point of the game, added another power play goal and the Leafs were on their way to forcing a game seven.
However, penalty problems by the Green and White in the second — Beaver Valley had two 5-on-3 manpower advantages — swayed the momentum to the Hawks.
In the third the Leafs just couldn’t put two passes together, forwards were forced out of position and the defence played the puck like it was a hand-grenade.
And the penalties just kept on being called on the Leafs.
“It was a tough game for us to play,” a dejected Leaf coach Frank Maida said after the game.
“There were a lot of calls that seem to go against us,” Maida added. “I had no idea why some of the calls were made which really hurt us.”
The avalanche began early for the Leafs as Connor Brown-Maloski tipped home a point shot past Beesley to start the comeback.
Ryan Edwards on the power play cut the margin before the Hawks tied the game up setting the stage for Calvin to pot the winner.
“Once we got that lucky one . . . we just needed one to get through and once that happened it was a momentum swing in our favour,” Jones explained.
Nelson had a chance to tie the game late in the third when the Hawks took a pair of penalties giving the Leafs a two-man advantage.
However, the 5-on-3 looked more like a 1-on-3 as, instead of moving the puck and setting up the power play, individuals tried to win the game on their own and the Leafs failed to mount any pressure on Beaver Valley netminder Zach Perehuoff.
“I thought we had a real good season,” said Maida when asked what he liked about the 2012-13 campaign.
“We just ran into some bumps we just couldn’t overcome.”
“I thought we had a real good playoff . . . we just had some calls that seemed to go against us through the series that we couldn’t overcome,” Maida added.
The Hawks get an extra day to rest up before travelling to the Sunflower City Monday for Game one of the Murdoch Division Final against the Castlegar Rebels.
Jones said that extra day of rest will definitely come in handy at this stage of the season.
“I’ve been around long enough to know it was huge to put Nelson away (in Game six),” Jones said. “If you have to go to seven, number one you never know what’s going to happen, and number two, the winner of the seven-game series is fodder for the team waiting.”
BLUELINES: In the final two games of the series, Beaver Valley rallied from 3-1 and 3-0 deficits. . . .Leaf defenceman Blake Arcuri got back into the line for Nelson Friday as Nelson attempted to overcome injuries to key defencemen. . . .The game attracted more than 500 fans, again for the third time of the series for Nelson.