What could go wrong, went wrong Monday for the West Kootenay Wildcats.Juan de Fuca, a team the Wildcats beat 2-1 earlier in the year, scored all the goals en route to a 3-0 win Monday at the B.C. Hockey Bantam Female Championships in Vernon.Castlegar, with 21 shots on goal could not get one past Juan de Fuca goalie Hailey Martens Scoring in the physically played contest.The Wildcats, win one point in two games, face must wins Tuesday when the team plays Prince George and Tri Cities in final round robin action.Late goal by Bonacci lifts West Kootenay Wildcats into tie with host VernonJessica Bonacci of Trail scored with just over a minute remaining in the game to lift West Kootenay Wildcats to a 3-3 tie against host Greater Vernon Sunday at the B.C. Hockey Bantam Female Championships. West Kootenay sits fifth overall with a single point following Day one of the tournament.Trailing 3-2 West Kootenay pulled its goalie for the extra attacker. The strategy worked as Bonacci ripped the twine to secure at least one point on opening day.Emilie Tebulte of Castlegar and team captain Merissa Dawson of Nelson also scored for the Cats with assists going to Emma Wheeldon of Nelson, Bonacci and Trail’s Julie Sidoni.Greater Vernon held a slim 26-25 shots advantage.West Kootenay meets Juan Fuca Monday at 2 p.m. as round robin play continues.The Cats close out the preliminary round Tuesday with a pair of games against Tri Cities and Prince George.The top two teams in each division qualify for the playoffs Wednesday.The West Kootenay Wildcats consist of a collection of players from throughout the region.
When you’re a team struggling to find anything positive in a losing season, changes are inevitable.Which is why the Nelson Leafs pulled the plug on a pair of Kootenay International Junior Hockey League deals to inject some life, and hopefully wins, into the Heritage City franchise.Leafs’ Head Coach and Director of Player Personal Mario DiBella announced Tuesday a deal that brings in two players that “helps us immediately.”Nelson acquired defenceman Brennan Grocock and forward Logan Wullum from the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in exchange for the Junior B rights of defenceman Austin Anselmo.DiBella was able to re-acquire Anselmo’s Junior B rights by trading defenceman Austin Steger to Osoyoos Coyotes.DiBella also sent netminder Ben Kelsch to Kamloops Storm for future considerations freeing up space at the netminding position where Jason Sandhu and Devin Allen remain. “(Logan) Wullum is a hard working, fast forward that has good hands while (Brennan) Grocock is a fleet-footed defenceman with an offensive flair,” DiBella explained.The 5’11” Grocock played two games for the Thunder Cats after starting the season in Golden while the 18-year-old Wullum played just 12 games for Creston.Nelson has been mired in a slump that has seen the team drop eight of nine games to fall to fourth in the Murdoch Division standings.However, DiBella remains optimistic there’s plenty of time in the season to right the ship.“During that span there were games where we played with less than a full lineup and we still out played teams . . . we just ran out of gas,” DiBella said.DiBella said both players practiced with the team Tuesday and will be ready when the Leafs travel to meet Castlegar Rebels Wednesday in the Sunflower City.Nelson, 9-12-0-0-2, trails the second-place Rebels and Grand Forks Border Bruins by four points in the standings. Castlegar has won seven straight games, including a 4-2 decision November 10 over the Leafs in a game Nelson outshot the hosts 47-28.Nelson hosts Grand Forks Saturday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.ICE CHIPS: Austin Anselmo was dealt last season to Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. The Trail native, currently playing for the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, has five goals and eight assists in 19 games. . . . Nelson native Ben Kelsch never really found a home with the Leafs after being acquired from Creston in the preseason. The 17-year-old goalie had two wins in seven games for Nelson. . . . DiBella said forward Sam Weber is only player on the team bothered by injury.