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Banner night for Vlanich as Nelson downs Grand Forks
The score might as well have read Jamie Vlanich 6, Grand Forks 5.
Vlanich was in on every Nelson goal Sunday — scoring two and assisting on the rest — as the Leafs downed the Border Bruins on the road. They have now gone 12 games without a regulation loss.
Nelson opened a 3-0 lead before the halfway mark of the first on goals from Travis Wellman, Brandon Sookro, and a power play marker by Alec Wilkinson.
The Border Bruins responded with a power play goal of their own by Kyle Dolly and then Tucker Brown scored with four minutes left to narrow the score to 3-2.
In the second period, Nelson extended its lead on another Wellman goal but Michael Rand replied for Grand Forks to keep it close.
In the third, Vlanich scored a power play goal for the Leafs, making the score 5-3. The Border Bruins got one of their own with the man advantage with less than two minutes to go and then pulled their goaltender during a late power play so they could have two extra attackers.
The gamble didn't work however, as Vlanich scored his second of the period into the empty net. Dolly did manage to get his second of the game with eight seconds left to make the final score 6-5 for the Leafs.
Vlanich wasn't the only Leaf to pad his stats: Wellman added two assists to finish the night with four points, and Wilkinson had three assists and four points.
Vlanich is second in KIJHL scoring with ten goals and a league-leading 19 assists, one point back of Kelowna's Nick Josephs, while Wellman is third with a league-best 19 goals plus seven assists.
Grand Forks outshot Nelson 43-35, with Tyler Moffatt picking up the win and Kai McDonald the loss.
Nelson's Darnel St. Pierre received a misconduct late in the second for making head contact and Robson Cramer was tossed near the end of the game for checking from behind.
With the win, Nelson improves to 10-0-1-1 and is five points ahead of the second-place Castlegar Rebels in the Neil Murdoch Division, with three games in hand. The Leafs are also atop the league standings, three point ahead of Kelowna, with one game in hand.
Nelson's next action is Friday in Armstrong against the North Okanagan Knights, in the opener of a three-game road trip.