Leafs deal for offence after acquiring Michael Rand from Bruins

first_imgHowever, the Leafs share the penthouse with the surging Beaver Valley Nitehawks after the defending KIJHL champs moved into a tie for the lead by edging Spokane Braves 2-1 at home Tuesday.Beaver Valley has a game in hand on Nelson heading into the weekend and will make up the contest December 29 when the Hawks complete a home-and-home series against Castlegar.Game one of the set goes Friday in the Sunflower City.For Nelson, the team has Grand Forks at home Friday before getting some much-needed rest.“We’re running two lines through all these games and everyone is getting tired,” said Leaf captain Aaron Dunlap.“As soon as the guys get back (from injuries) we’re going to be pretty hard to play against.”But Dunlap said the Leafs are not looking to far ahead to the holiday break.The team has a little unfinished business before enjoying some time away from the rink.“Grand Forks Friday has got to be a win going into the Christmas break,” Dunlap said.“And then those two against Beaver Valley when we come back are huge as well. But at least by that time we should have a couple more guys back from injury to help us out on the ice.”Leafs own BruinsThe Nelson Leafs meet the Grand Forks Border Bruins for the sixth time this season Friday at the NDCC Arena.Nelson is unbeaten against the Bruins in five games this season, out scoring Grand Forks 31-13.Grand Forks has lost 14 straight games dating back to a November 7 4-0 home-ice win over Columbia Valley.During that time Grand Forks has been out scored by a 74-25 margin. It’s a deal that has been in the works, from Nelson’s perspective, for at least . . . well, a very long time.Last week pen was put to paper as the Nelson Leafs acquired sniper Michael Rand from the Grand Forks Border Bruins for cash and future considerations.Rand joined the team this week and, ironically, plays his first game in the Green and White against his former teammates in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Friday at the NDCC Arena.“We think so, offensively, for sure,” said Leaf coach Dave McLellan when asked if the 6-foot, 170-pound forward from Langley is the answer to some of Nelson’s scoring woes.“(Michael) has been out for a while since he asked for a trade. But he’s a big body who can skate.“He’s a guy who can shoot the puck and that what we’re looking for. We wanted someone up front who could put the puck in the net.”The trade couldn’t have come at a better time for the Leafs as the team struggles to just put bodies on the ice since a rash of injuries took more than just a few key players out of the lineup.However, McLellan confesses management is not done acquiring players to help the Leafs make a playoff push.“We’re still trying to acquire a defenceman . . . that’s been an ongoing project,” McLellan said.“We’ll see by January 10th what we can find.”“One more forward would be what our wish list would be but another defenceman is a real priority if the right player comes available by January 10th.”Can’t wait for Christmas (break)Despite losing three of its last for games, the Nelson Leafs remain in top spot in the Neil Murdoch Division.last_img