After getting burned by the Rossland-Trail Tier 3 Pee Wee Smoke Eaters in a close 1-0 game in Nelson on Friday, the Leafs returned the favour in the Smokies’ barn on Monday.
With 31 seconds to go in the second period, Nelson’s Reese Tambellini lifted a high shot over the blocker of Rossland-Trail goalie Brett Watson in what would prove the winning goal in a 6-2 Nelson victory.
The pee-wee Smokies flew out of the gates in the first period, dominating the game for the first 15 minutes, including a 3 on 0 in the dying seconds. But Nelson goalie Curt Doyle made a tremendous glove save and kept the Leafs from getting blown away in the early going.
After a scoreless first period, the R-T Pee Wees started the second with a two man advantage. Despite good work around the perimeter, their best chance came on a brilliant end-to-end rush by Brenden Makay but his shot caromed off the cross bar.
Nelson didn’t waste anymore time.
Hudson Filion opened the scoring for Nelson on the power play, banging in a rebound on a sprawling save by Watson at 16:36 of the period.
Less than three minutes later, Jaden Bennett made no mistake on a cross-crease pass from Taylor Cooper, bulging the open twine, to make it 2-0 before Tambellini would net the winner at the end of the second.
Trail came out for the third with more jump, finally solving Doyle 37 seconds into the period when Ryan Cromarty converted a Tommy McConnachie pass to cut the lead to 3-1.
The teams exchanged two more goals with Cooper cashing in for the Leafs at 13:52 before Evan Cabana cut the lead again to two just 22 seconds later.
Fillion and Tambellini would each get their second of the night to ice it for the Leafs, 6-2.
With each team having two points a piece, the next and possibly deciding game of the series goes Thursday at 5 p.m. in Nelson. The winner will go on to play Castlegar for a berth in the provincials Mar. 18-23 in Quesnel.
The Pee Wee Tier 2, Bantam Tier 2 and Midget Tier 2 teams receive automatic berths into their provincials.