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Leafs blank Castlegar 9-0
Some nights things just seem to click perfectly, while other nights, nothing works at all.
Both of those scenarios took place Friday as the Nelson Leafs dominated the Castlegar Rebels 9-0 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action.
The Leafs were firing on all cylinders, offensively, defensively and in goal, while the Rebels struggled in almost all facets of the game.
Three goals by both Jamie Vlanich and Travis Wellman led the Leafs to the lopsided victory.
Other Leaf scorers included Adam Hodge, Darnel St. Pierre and Alec Wilkinson.
Brad Rebagliati led the way in goal for Nelson, stopping all 29 shots he faced to earn the shutout. His counterpart, Castlegar's Patrick Zubick did not fare as well as he was in net for all nine goals.
Vlanich was an offensive force for the Leafs, as he finished the evening with six points, adding three assists to go with his hat trick.
"It was a good game all around. Our goalie played really well," said Vlanich after the game.
"This is what you want come playoff time. It's really crucial to get everyone going."
While he praised his teammates performance, Vlanich was low key about his own efforts.
"It was a good night, I guess. I had a few lucky goals. I'll take them."
He said the team won't be changing its game plan and the players try not to get to high over a big win. They just want to stay focused.
It's a philosophy preached by the Leafs' coaching staff.
"Our focus going into tonight's game, based on our previous outings, was to try to put together one solid hockey game from start to finish. And we did that," said Leafs assistant coach Sean Dooley.
He added that from the goalie out to the forwards, every player kept it simple and kept to the team system.
While the scoreboard showed a lopsided game, Dooley said the action on the ice was not as one-sided as some may think.
"Once you get up a couple of goals like that, then its discouraging for them (Castlegar). That's a good team over there, they are well coached. But it came to a point that you could see them deflating after each goal."
And once Nelson had the momentum going, there was little the Rebels could do.
The Leafs will now take that momentum and try to build on it when they play the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Saturday night. The game takes place at 7 p.m. at the NDCC.
"We're going to set the bar for the rest of the season right here and in the playoffs," said Dooley.
As for the Rebels, they need to regroup and get ready for a Saturday night tilt in Castlegar against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.