McLaughlin keeps his options open for now

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first_imgBy Bruce Fuhr,The Nelson Daily SportsLeaf coach Chris Shaw gave star goal scorer Connor McLaughlin the day off Sunday when Nelson hosted Columbia Valley in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action at the NDCC Arena.Good thing too because of late the Arizona native has logged more miles than Greyhound and needed the well deserved rest. “It was fun . . . it was a blast,” McLaughlin told The Nelson Daily when asked about his road swing last week with Trail of the B.C. Hockey League following Sunday’s 6-3 victory over the Rockies. “I had a whole bunch of fun with the (Smokies) and pulled out a couple of wins.”McLaughlin, 19, received the call from the Smokies to fill rosters spots from forwards Sam Mellor and Travis St. Denis. Both players were at the 2010 World Junior A Challenge playing for Canada West.Trail played Prince George and Quesnel during the three-game trip. One of the victories on the swing was powered by the 6’1”, 190-pound grinding forward from Nelson.Facing a 3-1 deficit, McLaughlin sparked the Trail comeback by scoring two goals six minutes apart to start the third period.The visiting Smokies scored two more times to rally to a 5-3 victory. McLaughlin added an assist for a three-point night good enough for second star status.“I’d like to keep my options open,” McLaughlin said when asked if he has any desires to leave Nelson for the bright lights of Tier II Junior A Hockey. “It’s good to have that option but I don’t want to burn any bridges.”McLaughlin, who scored 24 goals for Nelson last season, is on pace to for the same 20-plus stats this year. In 21 games McLaughlin has scored 11 times to tie teammates Gavin Currie and Patrick Martens for the goal scoring lead on Nelson. Currie leads the team in points with 33.“I getting lucky right now,” said McLaughlin, who scored twice during Saturday’s 5-1 win over Kamloops. “A few of (goals) are bouncing off me and into the net but I’ll take them any way I can get them.”[email protected]last_img

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