Soles, Leafs blank Rebels 3-0
It was "return the favour time" for the Nelson Leafs.
After being shutout in the last meeting between the two teams, Leaf netminder Brett Soles picked up his mates with a 21-save performance to lead Nelson to a 3-0 victory over rival Castlegar Rebels in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Friday night at the NDCC Arena.
The two teams play the back half of the home-and-home series Saturday in Castlegar.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. in the Castlegar Complex.
There is much difference between the two teams this season.
The teams are tied at 1-1-1 in three games this season while Nelson has outscored the Rebels 8-6 in the set.
Friday, Castlegar held a 14-13 advantage in shots after two periods before Colton McCarthy and Matthew Naka scored less than two minutes apart in the third to give Soles all the offence he would need.
The goal by McCarthy, his tenth of the season to lead the Leafs, came on the power play.
The former Kootenay Ice of the B.C. Major Midget League stacked the pads the rest of the contest to give Nelson its first win of the season against its Murdoch rivals and move the Leafs into a second-place tie in the division.
Soles earned the game's first star for his 21-save, rock-solid, performance.
Connor Beauchamp, who also had a strong game between the pipes, took the loss for Castlegar.
Jacob Boyczuk, a force on the body all game long, added an empty net marker to secure the win.
Castlegar lost team leader Erik Alden in the first period when the Rebel defenceman took exception to a hit by Leaf rearguard Kevin Bow, squaring off with the Nelson player late in the first period.
GAME NOTES: Nelson welcomed back defenceman Blake Arcuri to the roster after the local product missed the first nine games of the season. . . .The return of Arcuri was good news for a Nelson team missing a few defenceman due to injury. Once again forward Linden Horswill was moved back to the bluelines to help the cause. Both Leaf defencmen, Cole Arcuri and Cam Weir, missed the game due to injury.