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Former Nitehawk makes NHL debut

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KIJHL Final Game 2 : Nitehawks complete incredible comeback

    • A hot goalie and a 4-1 Chase Heat lead wasn’t enough to hold off the Beaver Valley Nitehawks attack in Game 2 of the KIJHL final, as the Kootenay Conference champion battled tooth and nail for a 5-4 victory on Tuesday night at the B.V. Arena.
  • KIJHL Final underway, Nitehawks take Game 1 with 6-3 victory over Heat
  • The Beaver Valley Nitehawks cooled down the Chase Heat in Game 1 of the KIJHL final series with a 6-3 victory on Monday at the Beaver Valley Arena.

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Nitehawks – Dynamiters go the distance

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks had their chances but couldn’t close out the series, as the Kimberley Dynamiters held off the Hawks in a 1-0 victory on Wednesday in Kimberley.

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Following a 4-1 Nitehawks victory in Game 3, Dynamiters goalie Cody Campbell made 32 stops for the shutout and Franco Colapaolo scored the only goal of Game 4 to tie the series and force a deciding Game 5 in Fruitvale tonight (Friday).

“There was a lot of things we did very well but a few things that we didn’t do very well,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “We had some opportunities and we didn’t capitalize, and the one goal they scored was a great goal, the kid made a great effort.”

The Dynamiters were playing for their playoff lives down 2-1 in the best-of-five KIJHL Kootenay Conference Final going into the match. The Nitros played a tight-checking defensive game in the first period limiting the Hawks to just seven shots in the period, while Kimberley fired five at Hawks netminder Tallon Kramer.

The Hawks came out determined in the second period and had a number of looks with three power-play chances in the back half of the period but couldn’t beat Campbell.

“It’s been a while since our power play has really clicked, but it’s one thing to not score on the power play and it’s another to let it affect everything else,” said Jones. “We got a lot of negative momentum from our power play and we have to change that around a little bit.”

The Dynamiters scored with 6:29 to play in the middle frame, when Colapaolo flew down the right wing, broke in front of Kramer and swept in a backhand for what proved to be the game winner.

“The whole team is very happy,” Campbell told Black Press TV after the game. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, that’s a phenomenal team. but wer’e not done, we’re going to enjoy it for the next couple hours, then tomorrow get a fresh sleep and be sure we’re ready to go for Friday.”

The Nitehawks outshot the Dynamiters 17-10 in the period but a couple posts and several big stops by Campbell neutralized a usually persistent Nitehawks attack.

“For whatever reason we didn’t bear down around the net,” said Jones. “We had a lot more opportunities to score then they did, and not just shots, but scoring chances, and I think we could have generated even more.”

The Nitehawks had trouble getting shots through from the blue line but Jones credits the Nitros defence for sacrificing their body on numerous blocked shots, and shutting down the Hawks offence. The Hawks finally beat Campbell in the third period but the goal was disallowed because the net was off its moorings.

A penalty call on Mitch Foyle with 1:48 to play put the Nitehawks comeback in peril and despite pulling Kramer in the final minute, B.V. could not find the equalizer.

In all, the Nitehawks went 0-for-7 on the power play and outshot Kimberley 32-23, while the Dynamiters were 0-for-5 with the extra man.

“We have to look at the foundation of what makes our team go, and I think that our effort has been pretty good, but at the end of the day I think we need to generate more power-play success,” said Jones. “We’ve been scoring by committee, and have had somebody come up big all year long when we needed it.”

The Nitehawks will look to pick up the tempo in Game 5, and get to Campbell early as they did in their previous two playoff wins. But the Hawks must also improve their power play, which has struggled mightily in the playoffs scoring just seven times on 51 chances for a 13.73 per cent success rate. The Hawks owned the best power play in the Kootenay Conference in the regular season at 25 per cent.

And as with most playoff series that go the distance, the Nitehawk and Nitro players are banged up, but nagging injuries will all but be forgotten when the eventual winner raises the Kootenay Conference championship banner to the rafters.

“Everyone has something going at this time of year,” said Jones. “You got to battle through it. They lost their best defenceman in (Tyler) Van Steinburg, they’re going through lots of adversity, we’re going through lots of adversity, and it’s going to come down to the team and the individuals that want it the most.”

The puck drop for Game 5 of the Kootenay Conference Final goes tonight at the Beaver Valley Arena at 7:30 p.m.

In the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference championship, the Osoyoos Coyotes and Chase Heat will play a decisive Game 5 on Friday, after the Heat won their second game in a row in overtime, 5-4.

 

Beaver Valley face off against the Kimberley Dynamiters in Conference final

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are due, at least when it comes to facing the Kimberley Dynamiters in the KIJHL Kootenay Conference final.

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The Hawks and Nitros will meet for the third consecutive year in a conference final that saw the Dynamiters sweep the Hawks last season and win in five games in 2015. This year, the Nitehawks are looking for a different outcome.

“I think going into it they’re a very different team and I think we’re a different team, so even though there’s a past rivalry, there’s a lot of players that are different, and I think we just want to focus on this year and not really focus what’s happened in the past,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones.

The Nitehawks swept the Leafs in the Neil Murdoch Division final on Saturday, while the Dynamiters knocked off the top seed  Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the Eddie Murdoch Division final in six games with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

“[We need to ] try to pick up where we left off,” Kimberley coach Derek Stuart told the Cranbrook Townsman. “I think that our Game 6 against Creston was our best game of the playoffs thus far. Our guys understand what the level of play has to be [and] the compete and work ethic have to be there.”

According to Stuart, the Nitehawks are a team the Dynamiters have tried to emulate all-season long because of the way they play a full 60-minutes of hockey, and will be a challenge to beat this time around with a strong, balanced lineup and arguably the league’s  best goaltender in Tallon Kramer.

“We will definitely have our work cut out for us with Kramer in net,” Stuart said. “[But] in my opinion, it’s the two best goalies in our conference going at it now.”

Dynamiters’ goalie Cody Campbell was a major reason for the team’s victory over the Cats as he stopped 36 of 38 shots in Game 6, and has a 2.66 goals against average, and .920 save percentage in 12 playoff games.

The Dynamiters defenceman James Farmer has been a standout in the playoffs and leads the Nitros with 19 points in 12 playoff matches, with Nolan Kurylo and Joe Karpyshyn leading forwards with 15 and 13 points respectively.

“Those three are the guys that have really been hot for them, so we know we have to focus on them, and I think we have to focus on staying out of the penalty box,” said Jones. “We have done some scouting, and we saw them at the end of the year and they gave it to us pretty good so we’ve got to be ready for them. They have a good team and a good goaltender, and it’s going to take our best to beat them.”

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The Nitehawks won 2-of-3 against the Dynamiters in the regular season’s series, their only loss a 6-3 setback in the penultimate game of the season. B.V. is poised to make a statement after finishing atop the KIJHL this season to earn home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, while Kimberley faltered midway through the season to finish behind Creston in the Murdoch Division.

“It’s not going to be easy, we have to play a complete 60 minutes and our home crowd has been really good for us, no question,” added Jones. “It has been a great year of support at the rink and we just look forward to being ready and just play our best.”

The week rest helped the Hawks whose injuries were piling up, and Jones says that top scoring defenceman McKoy Hauck, out since the end of February, will be back in the lineup tonght, while Blake Sidoni and Aiden Browell remain day-to-day.

Beaver Valley faces off against Kimberley at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Beaver Valley Arena, and at the same time and place on Saturday

B.V. Nitehawks sweeps Nelson Leafs, prepare for Conference final

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks celebrated their second series sweep in the KIJHL playoffs, downing the Nelson Leafs 4-1 to capture the Neil Murdoch Division title on Saturday.

After edging the Leafs 3-2 in double overtime in Game 3 Friday in Nelson, B.V. dominated Game 4 holding Nelson to just 10 shots for the series-clinching victory.

“I thought it was probably our best effort of the playoffs,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “I thought we came out and we were really skating and we carried over the play from Game 3 to Game 4. We knew we had them on the ropes and we really were skating well, and when we’re skating we’re a hard team to beat.”

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Nitehawks Tyler Hartman celebrates Kyle Hope game winning goal.

 

The Hawks Kyle Hope netted the winning goal and first of the playoffs at 3:43 of the first period. Hawks center Tyler Hartman won a faceoff in the Leafs zone back to Hope who wired it past Nelson goalie Billy Gorn blocker side for a 2-0 lead.

“It was a big shot, and Kyle had a great game,” said Jones. “He’s coming off an injury and illness so it’s good to see him get his skating feet beneath him, come back and play so good.”

Gorn took the crease from Leafs goalie Devin Allen, who had been outstanding between the pipes in both series and was the Leafs’ player of the game in Game 3.

While the Leafs played a gruelling six-game playoff series in Round 1 against the Castlegar Rebels in which they faced off in nine overtime periods, the team was in tough against the Nitehawks who lost just five games in regulation all season, and finished atop the regular season KIJHL standings.

“I’m very proud of how the team (Nelson) played,” Leafs head coach Mario DiBella told the Nelson Star. “They battled through 27 periods of hockey against Castlegar. The bottom line is we came out of that series tired and full of bumps and bruises, and they continued to compete. We played a very good Beaver Valley team that could have been down 3-0 as easily as they were up 3-0.”

Beaver Valley’s Tyler Ghirardosi put the Hawks on the board, firing in his own rebound on a setup from Dylan Heppler who wheeled into the Nelson zone and fed Ghirardosi on the far side for a 1-0 lead. After Hope made it 2-0, Nelson’s Alex Meeker stuffed in his own rebound on the power play to score on one of the Leafs’ three shots in the period with 37 seconds left to cut the lead to one.

Nolan Percival made it 3-1 and Jaxen Gemmell finished the scoring when he settled a bouncing pass from Hope, broke through the Leafs defence, and wired it into the Nelson net with 3:14 to play in the middle frame for the 4-1 final.

The Hawks outshot Nelson 24-10 with Hope receiving player of the game for his three-point night for B.V. and Meeker for Nelson.

“I couldn’t believe how strong they (Nelson) played,” said Jones. “They’re a physical team, and they really put it to us physically, and played us really hard. So we give them a lot of credit and a lot respect for a great season.”

In Friday’s game, Sam Swanson scored at 10:27 of the second overtime to lift the Hawks to a 3-2 Game 3 victory.

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Damon Kramer and Blake Sidoni scored for the Nitehawks, while Sawyer Hunt and Dale Howell replied for the Leafs. The shots on goal were 29 apiece, with goaltenders Allen and B.V.’s Tallon Kramer named player of the game for their respective teams.

“Once we got into overtime, we really started to play our game again, and killed a couple penalties off,” said Jones. “We didn’t lose our composure, and didn’t let things get away from us. Tallon’s the most important guy that way and he was calm and cool and it reflects on everybody else.”

The sweep gives the Nitehawks their fourth straight Neil Murdoch Division title, and a shot at their first Kootenay Conference championship since 2014. B.V. will play the winner of the Kimberley Dynamiters and Creston Valley Thunder Cats series.

The Dynamiters held a 3-1 advantage in the Eddie Mountain Division final before Game 5 on Monday night, but the score was unavailable at press time. Kimberley beat Creston 3-2 overtime in Game 4 Saturday, and a 4-3 OT victory in Game 3.

The Nitehawks have lost the last two Kootenay Conference finals to the Dynamiters, after running the table in 2014 and winning the KIJHL title, Cyclone Taylor and Keystone Cups.

The Nitehawks coach has no preference as to which team B.V. faces in the conference final, and hopes to see their Eddie Murdoch Division rivals series go the limit.

“It makes it harder when you have to play six-seven games in a series. We know both teams are good and had really good games with both teams this year. We look forward to any challenge that comes our way, and we’ll give it our best shot.”

Hawks Notes: The conference final series is set to start in B.V. Friday, and will give the Nitehawks a little recovery time, with Aiden Browell, McKoy Hauck, Blake Sidoni, and Ryan Terpsma all nursing injuries.

In the Okanagan-Shuswap conference, the Osoyoos Coyotes swept the Summerland Steam to move on to the conference final, where they will play the Chase Heat, after the Heat eliminated the Kamloops Storm in five games.

Nitehawks mount dramatic comeback, win in OT over Leafs

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks gave new meaning to the saying, ‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.’

170309-TDT-Hawks3-2-webThe Nelson Leafs played determined and disciplined hockey, shutting down the Nitehawks for 59 minutes and 20 seconds and skating to a 3-1 lead in Game 2 of the KIJHL Neil Murdoch Division final. But it was the last 40 seconds that made all the difference, as the Nitehawks stormed back for an impossible 4-3 comeback victory.

“Well, you got to believe,” said Nitehawks assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto. “And I think everyone on the bench believed. Our third period was our best period of the game. All we did is went back to the way we started the game, and just rolled our four lines, and the guys responded.”

Down 3-1, the Nitehawks pulled goalie Tallon Kramer for the extra attacker in the final minute, and B.V. forward Dylan Heppler scored his second of the night on a blast from the high slot with 37 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 3-2.

The Leafs made an attempt at the Hawks’ open cage, but missed, conceding an icing call to give the Hawks one last gasp with just over 20 seconds on the clock. Hawks’ centerman Swanson won the faceoff over to Jaxen Gemmell who sent a pass to Dylan Kent at the top of the circle. With 18 seconds left on the clock, and traffic piling up in front, Kent’s low shot beat a screened Leafs goalie Devin Allen, hit the inside of the post, slid across the goal line to the other post, and settled over the line to tie the game 3-3 and force OT.

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“That’s happened before for us,” said Cominotto. “We’ve been in that situation, and practiced that situation before. The key is getting the draw and swinging the puck east-west, and getting it to the net. When you put it on net, anything can happen and fortunately for us it went in.”

The Nitehawks carried its momentum into the extra frame and dominated the 10-minute OT, outshooting the Leafs 6-1. It looked like yet another overtime for the Leafs, but the Nitehawks forced a face off in the Nelson zone with nine seconds to play. The team’s battled for possession and Heppler gained control, sending the puck back to Kent at the point. His shot went wide but bounced off the backboard right to Nolan Percival at the side of the net, and the former Leaf sent a quick shot through the pads of Allen for the overtime winner with just 3.5 seconds to play and a 4-3 Game 2 victory.

“Finishing off a game where we weren’t really in it feels good for the whole team,” said Percival. “I didn’t know what was going on to be honest with you, it came off the back boards, and I just took a whack at it, and somehow it snuck through the goalie, who was good all night, so it was luck.”

The Leafs played textbook hockey against the Nitehawks, in a tight-checking and space-limiting performance that disrupted a normally formidable Hawks offensive flow. Nelson opened the scoring five minutes in when Andy Fitzpatrick circled behind the net and sent a pass to Sam Weber in the slot, whose one-timer beat Kramer high glove side.

Heppler drew B.V. even four minutes later when he settled a bouncing puck, then walked in and deked Allen with a slick backhand- forehand move. Nelson’s power play was firing on all cylinders, and, after a Hawks penalty, the Leafs regained the lead when Dale Howell shovelled in his own rebound at 3:05 of the first period to put Nelson up 2-1.

The Leafs Sawyer Hunt made it 3-1 on another power-play goal, when he walked in from the side of the net and was stopped on his first try, but lifted the rebound over Kramer at 5:14 of the second period. The Leafs outshot the Hawks 22-17 through two periods and stifled B.V.’s big guns, keeping their scoring chances to the perimeter.

170309-TDT-Heppler-BV“At the end of the day, we have to win one game here to win the series,” said Nelson coach Mario DiBella. “I thought we played extremely well for 59 minutes, and the last minute wasn’t what we wanted. But give Beaver Valley full measure, they’re a really good team, that had the tenacity to tie it late in the third period.”

The Hawks picked up the pace in the third, firing 14 shots at Allen, while Nelson managed just three shots on Kramer. However, the Leafs goalie answered and made a highlight reel save on Percival, when he came across and robbed him with the blocker midway through the period.

But that all changed in the final minute with the goalie pulled, the Nitehawks answered.

“You have to give them credit over there, they played really physical, and put us on our heels, no doubt about it,” said Cominotto. “But we’re a good team, and good teams find a way. We just worked through it, we battled it through it, and by no means are we taking anything away from them, we know what they have over there, we know we could have been just as easily 1-1, but fortunately we found a way to win.”

The Nitehawks outshot the Leafs 39-24 and went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Nelson was 2-for-2. Percival earned the game star for the Nitehawks and Hunt for the Leafs.

The Nitehawks take a 2-0 series lead, as the Neil Murdoch Division final heads to Nelson on Friday with the puck drop at the Nelson Civic Centre at 7 p.m.

 
 

Beaver Valley outlasts Leafs in Game 1 of Neil Murdoch Division Final

A well-rested Beaver Valley Nitehawks team skated to a 5-4 Game-1 victory over the Nelson Leafs in the KIJHL Neil Murdoch Division final on Tuesday at the Hawks Nest.

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Nitehawks forward Dylan Heppler scored what proved to be the winning goal at 17:45 of the third period and assisted on another to give the Hawks the early series lead against the rival Leafs. Heppler  skated over the blue line, dropped the puck to a trailing Nolan Percival, and broke to the net. The former Leaf returned the pass to Heppler, who deftly tipped it through the pads of Devin Allen for a 5-3 Nitehawks lead.

Despite the victory, Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones recognizes the effects of the week-long layoff the Nitehawks enjoyed after sweeping the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Feb. 28.

“I thought we were rusty defensively. As a five-man unit we weren’t stopping and starting, our habits weren’t great in the d-zone. It was good enough, but I think we have some areas to shore up.”

The opening match of the division final pitched a third-seed Nelson team, riding a high after an upset victory over second-seed Castlegar Rebels, face off against a Nitehawks team that won the KIJHL regular season title and the season series 5-2 versus the Leafs. While the Hawks swept the Border Bruins in round 1, Nelson endured a marathon series agains the Rebels that was settled in Game 6 on Friday, and saw four of those playoff games go to overtime.

“I think coming off a very emotional six-game series with 27 periods played, there wasn’t much left in the tank,” said Nelson coach Mario DiBella. “We had some mental lapses early in the game, but we rebounded from that, and I thought we came on strong and gave them a game tonight.”

The Hawks came out flying in the first period, and a relentless forecheck combined with quick puck movement resulted in a 2-0 lead less than five minutes in.

Leafs goalBlake Sidoni sent Sam Swanson and Mitch Foyle in on a 2-on-1, and Foyle ripped a perfect Swanson pass off the cross bar for a 1-0 Hawks lead at 16:28. Less than a minute later, Sidoni carried a puck in deep, and dished to Jaxen Gemmell who was stopped by the Leafs goalie, but Tyler Hartman shovelled in the rebound for his fourth of the playoffs.

“It wasn’t a full 60 minutes,” said Hartman after the match. “But we’ve won dirty before, and won those kind of games. We’ll take any win – a win’s a win.”

B.V. looked poised to run away with the game, but Nelson regained its footing after an interference penalty to Tyler Ghirardosi slowed the Hawks momentum. Nelson capitalized on the ensuing power play with Logan Wullum gathering a loose puck in the slot and firing it by screened Hawks goalie Tallon Kramer at 7:49.

Nelson continued to push back and 22 seconds later an aggressive forecheck by Dale Howell forced the puck out to Nicholas Wihak, who lifted it over Kramer at the near post to tie it.

B.V.’s Ryan Terpsma put the Hawks up 3-2 , wiring a slap shot from the point that beat Allen stick side, but Nelson replied with another power play goal with 2:32 to play in the opening frame. The Leafs worked the puck down low and a shot from a bad angle bounced in the air and off Wihak, parked at the edge of the crease, and past Kramer to tie the game at three.

“We got up and had a great start, were finishing checks, and I thought we actually had a chance to score three or four goals,” said Jones. “But their goalie made a couple great saves to keep them in it and then poor discipline cost us momentum, and it happened a couple times.”

The Hawks outshot the Leafs 11-8 in the wild first frame.

The second period saw both defensive units tighten their respective belts, but not before Beaver Valley took the lead at 17:05. Foyle found Ghirardosi breaking down the left wing, and the Montrose native beat a sprawling Allen with a wrister into the yawning cage.

Both teams traded chances but Allen and Kramer came up with a series of big saves to keep it a one-goal game and the crowd on the edge of their seats at the end of two.

save kramerHeppler scored his second of the playoffs just 2:15 into the final stanza to give the Hawks the two-goal lead and it stayed that way until the dying seconds.

The Leafs pulled their goalie in the final minute, and Nelson forward Sawyer Hunt beat Kramer with a quick low shot from the slot with just 12 seconds remaining to draw the Leafs within one, but the seconds ticked off to end the game, 5-4.

“Beaver Valley came out flying, and give them full measure for their win,” said DiBella. “But we stuck with them and gave them a game, and we’ll be better next game.”

The Nitehawks outshot the Leafs 27-24 and were 0-for-4 on the power play while Nelson went 2-for-2.Terpsma earned player of the game for the Nitehawks, and Wihak for the Leafs.

“We know it’s going to be tough, and they’re not going to give an inch,” said Jones. “It’s playoffs and it’s the division finals and it’s always tough. Give them credit, they battled hard tonight, their goalie played great kept them in it, and their power play was wicked, but we have to be better in certain areas, and that’s what the series is about.”

Game 2 goes in Beaver Valley with the puck drop at 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday).  

 

 

Nitehawks face Nelson Leafs in Neil Murdoch Division Final

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks host the Nelson Leafs in the Neil Murdoch Division final starting Tuesday night at the B.V. Arena.HepplervsLeafs

Nelson finished off the Castlegar Rebels in Game 6 on Friday in a thrilling 1-0 victory in Nelson. The Rebels held a 2-1 series lead until the Leafs reeled off three straight victories, with three-of-the-four wins in overtime, including a four-OT marathon 3-2 victory to start the series.

Meanwhile, the Nitehawks swept the Grand Forks Border Bruins and will look for their fourth straight division title when they face the Leafs in the best-of-seven Neil Murdoch final. The Hawks had a week-long rest between series, which should help in healing a few bruises suffered in the series, however, defenceman and team leader McKoy Hauck is still sidelined with an upper body injury.

“We’re hoping we can get McKoy back some time in the next series, but we don’t know when that will be,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones.

Nelson has had a few days off to recuperate from the Pyrrhic victory over the Rebels, that saw the teams play nine overtime periods over six games. Two of the matches ended in 1-0 wins for the Leafs, showcasing outstanding goaltending from Devin Allen and strong play from the Leafs’ defence.

“Our defensive corps is on par with anyone’s in the league,” Nelson coach Mario DiBella told the Nelson Star. “Honestly when I see those six out there, and even the other D-man who was in the stands tonight, I have nothing but confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Nitehawks held the season-series edge on the Leafs, losing two of seven matches, but the Hawks-Leafs last two games ended in a 4-3 and 2-1 overtime final, so expect a hard-fought series from an already bitter rivalry.

“They have some solid goaltending, and some veteran defensive play, and they have that game-breaking scorer in Sawyer Hunt, so it will be a tough series, for sure,” added Jones.

The Nitehawks-Leafs face off tonight at 7 p.m. at the Beaver Valley Arena, with Game 2 on Wednesday at the same time and place.

Nitehawks complete the sweep of Grand Forks Border Bruins

Grand forks Kalasc photoA lightning fast start in Game 4 helped propel the Beaver Valley Nitehawks to a four-game sweep of the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Tuesday at the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena.

The Nitehawks scored three goals in the opening two minutes and 19 seconds on their away to a 7-4 victory over the Bruins to win the best-of-seven Neil Murdoch division semifinal.

“We just jumped to it, three goals in the opening two minutes, it was an unbelievable start,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “I don’t think they know what hit them.”

Tyler Hartman opened the scoring 10 seconds after the opening faceoff, blasting a quick shot past Grand Forks goalie Anthony Galliart on a setup from Blake Sidoni and Dylan Kent. Less than a minute later, Tyler Ghirardosi took a feed from Mitch Foyle and wired one by Galliart for a 2-0 lead, and Bradley Ross made it 3-0 converting a Hartman and Foyle setup with 17:41 still to play in the first period.

“We got a really quick jump off the first faceoff, and more than anything else the three forwards jumped on it, it was a really quick play and a really quick shot. The quickness of the shot surprised Galliart and that was it, they got on their heels right after that.”

The Hawks didn’t slow down as five minutes later Dylan Heppler buried a Ryan Terpsma offering, and Hartman notched his second of the night at the 11:10 mark to net the winner and give the Hawks a 5-0 lead.

Grand Forks got on the board on the power play, as Logan Hascarl beat Kramer at 6:33, as B.V. outshot the Bruins 25-9 in the period. After a tight 3-2 Game 1 victory, the Nitehawks welcomed the the return of captain Sam Swanson and Nolan Percival to the lineup and dominated Game 2 in a 7-1 victory, and a 4-0 Game 3 shutout, with scoring contributions from up and down the lineup.

“You never expect the sweep,” said Jones. “When you look at the series, the first game was a really tough game to play. We didn’t play well and we give credit to them for bottling us up. Once we were able to get our game going, and keep the flow and the tempo up, we just knew that we were deeper.”

The Border Bruins would not roll over however, scoring three times in the second period on 18 shots. With the game 6-4 heading into the third, the Hawks defence locked down the Bruins offence and Percival scored his second power-play goal with 7:04 to play to complete the scoring and the 7-4 victory.

“They have some really fine players on their team,” said Jones. “We knew that if we are able to play a quick game opposed to a slow and methodical game it’s going to help us, so that’s what we focused on.”

The Nitehawks outshot the Border Bruins 44-35 and went 3-for-5 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1-for-3. Hartman earned player of the game for B.V., Dylan Haney for Grand Forks.

The four-game sweep gives the Nitehawks a rest and ample time to prepare for the winner of the Castlegar-Nelson series. The Leafs tied the series at 2-2 with a 1-0 double-overtime win over the Rebels in Nelson on Tuesday. The teams played eight overtime periods in three of those games, highlighted by a four-overtime marathon in Game 1.

“We’ve been there before, so we know what those guys are going through,” said Jones. “There’s two lines of thought, you stay in the playoff grind and you stay into it, and sometimes if you have a break you get flat. We’re going to take a day here and just chill, and then regroup and get practice going again, and keep our feet underneath us.”

In the Eddie Mountain Division, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats swept the Columbia Valley Rockies with a 5-3 win on Tuesday, while Fernie and Kimberley are deadlocked at two-games apiece after a 3-2 Kimberley victory Tuesday.

The Nelson Leafs and Castlegar Rebels resume their series in Castlegar tonight at 7 p.m.

Nitehawks put Border Bruins on brink of eliminationdamon kramer

The Kramer brothers played a big part in the Beaver Valley Nitehawks shut-out victory over the Grand Forks Border Bruins in Game 3 Monday night in Grand Forks, as the Hawks take a strangle hold on the Neil Murdoch Division semifinal series.

Nitehawks goalie Tallon Kramer was perfect in net stopping 28 shots, while younger sibling Damon Kramer scored the winner just over two minutes into the opening frame.

The Nitehawks hold a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and played the Border Bruins Tuesday night, but the score was unavailable at press time. With a victory and a series-sweep, the Nitehawks will play the winner of the Castlegar Rebels-Nelson Leafs series. The Rebels took a 2-1 series lead with a 6-5 overtime victory on Monday.

Kramer netted his first goal of the playoffs on a setup from Bradley Ross and Aiden Browell one second after a penalty to Grand Forks captain Dylan Haney expired.

But it was the Nitehawks penalty kill and Tallon Kramer that rose to the occasion killing three shorthanded situations in the first period alone. The game remained 1-0 through the middle frame despite a 17-shot barrage by the Hawks on Border Bruins netminder Anthony Galliart.

B.V. finally broke through early in the third, following a penalty to Haney for high sticking. The two Tylers, Hartman and Ghirardosi, set up Mitch Foyle, who wired a shot past Galliart for a 2-0 lead, and 29 seconds later Nolan Percival notched his first goal of the playoffs in his first game back since being sidelined for the past month with injury. Dylan Heppler and Kevan McBean assisted on the play.

As expected the intensity amped up in the third, but the Nitehawks kept their cool and the lead with Karsten Jang scoring on the power play on a dish from Jaxen Gemmell and Ross with 3:49 remaining for the 4-0 victory.

B.V. outshot the Border Bruins 44-28, and were 2-for-6 on the power play, while Grand Forks was 0-for-10 with the extra man.

If Game 5 is necessary, the game is scheduled for Thursday night at the Beaver Valley Arena at 7 p.m.

 
 

KIJHL playoffs: Beaver Valley takes two at home versus Grand Forks

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Galliart stops B.V.’s Dylan Heppler.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks took full advantage of home ice and jumped out to a 2-0 series lead in the Neil Murdoch Division semi-final against the Grand Forks Border Bruins at the Hawks Nest on the weekend.

The Nitehawks skated to a tentative 3-2 victory over the Border Bruins on Friday, then found their stride Saturday with a 7-1 thumping.

“I think last night (Friday), I don’t know if it was nerves, but we didn’t play very well at all,” said Nitehawks assistant coach Bill Birks. “Tonight (Saturday) we came out on fire, buried them early and kept it going. I think everyone on the team had a good game.”

Nitehawks forward Blake Sidoni scored twice in each match, while B.V. captain Sam Swanson made up for sitting out Friday’s game with a three-point night on Saturday. Swanson was suspended for a game for a hit-from-behind assessed in the Hawks final home game against Fernie.

“Feels nice to be back out there for sure,” said Swanson. “The guys had a tough game last night, a little bit of jitters in the first game, but collectively as a whole we really played well tonight. It’s always tough watching from the stands, it doesn’t matter if its playoffs, regular season, or exhibition, you want to be out there.”

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Tallon Kramer stymies Grand Forks Yoan Rodrigue.

Jake Yuris netted what proved to be the winning goal on Saturday, notching his first of the playoffs with 3:25 to play in the opening frame. Kyle Hope worked the puck down low to Mitch Foyle and the Fruitvale native sent a perfect pass to Yuris between the hash marks, who whistled a wrist shot over the blocker of Grand Forks goalie Anthony Galliart to put the Hawks up 2-0.

The win was in stark contrast to Friday’s grinding match where a goal from Sidoni in the final 20 seconds secured a 3-2 B.V. victory.

“We rank them out of three, and everyone was a three tonight,” said Birks. “We worked hard, did a good job blocking shots, our power play was cooking, and our PK was good.”

The Hawks Dylan Kent opened the scoring when his point shot went through a crowd and eluded Galliart less than three minutes in for a 1-0 lead. After Yuris made it 2-0, Sam Swanson set up Sidoni in the slot, who fired it five-hole with 2:33 to play, as B.V. outshot the Bruins 18-5 in the period.

Swanson made it 4-0 at 12:29 of the second period, finishing a pretty three-way passing play from Aiden Browell and Tyler Ghirardosi with a bullet from the high slot. Two minutes later, Grand Forks got on the board on the power play, when a point shot deflected off Chad Grambo’s skate and snuck past Hawks goalie Tallon Kramer.

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The Nitehawks endured a rare seven-minute penalty when Damon Kramer was sent off for fighting and an instigator call. But an effective penalty kill combined with timely saves from Kramer killed the Bruins’ advantage and B.V. reclaimed momentum heading into the third period.

“We have to stay disciplined,” said Birks. “I think they got a little momentum in the second period. After whistles, they’d rough it up a little bit and try to take our top guys off their game.”

A power play goal from Tyler Hartman put the Hawks up 5-1 to open the third, and Sidoni’s second of the game and fourth of the series gave the Hawks a five goal lead. The Nitehawks put an exclamation mark on the victory, when Ghirardosi sprung Bradley Ross and Swanson in on a 2-on-1. Ross feathered a cross-crease pass over the defenceman’s stick to Swanson who calmly passed it right back to Ross, and the Trail native tapped it in the open net for the highlight-reel finish.

“It was a good play by Ross, it was a good play by Ghirardosi to get it to him, and then he (Ross) made a nice pass to me,” said Swanson. “The puck was a little bit behind me and I didn’t have a good shot so I just threw it back to him.”

B.V. outshot Grand Forks 53-19 and went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Border Bruins were 1-for-5. Swanson was player of the game for the Hawks, with Logan Klatt getting the nod for Grand Forks.

In Friday’s game, a four-goal second period locked the game at 2-2, and it stayed that way until Sidoni beat Galliart with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Nitehawks a 3-2 Game-1 win.170227-TDT-Hawks Sidoni

Tyler Ghirardosi scored a second period shorthanded tally to put the Hawks up 2-1 before Connor Brennan tied it heading into the third.

B.V. outshot Grand Forks 42-22, with Ross earning player of the game honours for the Hawks and defenceman Alexander Leonidas for the Border Bruins.

Despite the two-game lead, the Nitehawks won’t be taking Grand Forks lightly as the series heads to Boundary country. The Border Bruins beat the Hawks twice this year, and are a different team at home. Grand Forks will also see the return of team MVP Dylan Haney back in the lineup in Game 4 after serving a three-game suspension.

“It’s nice to get up 2-0,” added Birks. “Their backs are up against the wall a little bit, but we can’t take them lightly, they played us tough all year, beat us twice, and they were all good games.”

McKoy Hauck is out of the Nitehawk lineup with an upper body injury, while Nolan Percival will be a game time decision. Hawks goalie Owen Sikkes was also in the stands with a lower body injury and is day-to-day.

Nitehawks coach marks two decades at the helm

Coaching junior hockey is not an exercise in job security, and coaching the same junior team for 20 years is unheard of – almost.

170221-TDT-JonesThe Beaver Valley Nitehawks head coach and GM Terry Jones hopes to celebrate the Nitehawk’s 35th year and his 20th season behind the bench in B.V. with another KIJHL championship, as the Hawks start their playoff run on Friday.

The Montrose native won his first KIJHL championship and Cyclone Taylor Cup as an assistant coach with the Hawks in 1997. Since then, the Hawks have won seven KI titles, three provincial Cyclone Cup championships, and a Keystone Cup (Western Canadian championship). His teams made the playoffs in every one of those 20 seasons, and wrapped up their 13th Neil Murdoch Division regular-season title in January.

“Winning that year (‘97) set our culture, our expectations, in terms of here’s what we were going to do,” said Jones. “What followed after that though was just Trail Minor Hockey and Beaver Valley Minor Hockey had a ton of really good young players coming through … we’ve always had a really good core of guys to provide that foundation.”

Jones started with the Nitehawks as an assistant to Pat Corrado in 1996, after a rough year assisting Hank Deadmarsh and Corrado coach the Trail Smoke Eaters in their second season in the BCHL.

“Pat and I had a pretty unsuccessful year in Trail as Jr. A coaches, and I was kind of disillusioned, but Hank and Pat asked me to come back (to B.V.)” said Jones. “It’s all about teamwork, it’s always been about teamwork, and I felt with Hank and Pat we were a good team and then Paul (Matteucci) and I were a good team.”

Four years later, two KIJHL championships and a Cyclone Taylor Cup coaching with Corrado and Deadmarsh provided a solid foundation for Jones and more success quickly followed.

Jones took over as head coach and continued to build the Nitehawks culture with assistant Matteucci from 2000-07, winning three more KI titles and a Cyclone. But with twin sons Connor and Kellen on the move to the Vernon Vipers, Jones took a half season off, with the intention of staying on as GM, but returned as head coach in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since.

Uncharacteristically, the Nitehawks went five seasons without a Murdoch title, and bottomed out with a fourth-place finish in 2009-10, but two years later the Hawks were back on top, winning another KIJHL title in 2012.

“An important step was taking the HP (high performance coaching) course,” said Jones. “I talked to my wife (Loretta) about it, and talked about being stale as a coach and having new ideas, and from that HP course, that’s really the foundation of what we do now. We have a delegation of coaches, a bunch of guys that really hang together, we all have our roles and work together as a team. Since that time, coaching has become so much fun.”

The current Nitehawks coaching staff is an example of how the teamwork has paid off. The Nitehawks share responsibilities with assistants Bill Birks and Jeremy Cominotto on the bench, and Mike Morisette, Dave Pasin, and Kevin Hendrickson assisting off the ice, along with assistant GM Jamie Cominotto and trainer Tom Meekes, who has also been with the Hawks since 96-97.

Birks, with six seasons as a Jr. A coach of the Merritt Centennials and Trail Smoke Eaters behind him, recognizes a quality organization when he sees one.

“I’ve been around a lot of teams but this is a high-end organization and so are the people,” said Birks. “The breakfast club is huge, you get guys down here and they hangout, different voices from everybody, it’s just not one guy barking orders, it’s seven or eight, but they all listen. And the stuff, the swag they get, the road trips, the hotels they stay in, the food they eat, it’s Jr. A quality.”

For Cominotto, who as a former player (‘99-03) returned to the team as an assistant coach in 2008, the experience has been “pretty special.”

“Never would I have thought at 16, when I came here my first year, that eight years later I’m standing here next to him on the bench. But I’ve always admired Terry, and playing for him I kind of knew what his expectations would be for me as a coach.”

Understandably, a Hawks’ highlight for Jones was the team’s 2014 sweep of the KIJHL title, Cyclone Taylor and Keystone Cups. The Nitehawks have also helped hundreds of players move onto the Junior A, University, and professional ranks, but it is in the small victories that Jones takes most pride.

“Guys like Mike Morissette, and Jeremy (Cominotto), guys that I’ve coached, you see them back coaching minor hockey, or involved in minor hockey, and giving back to the community. It’s what we did, so they’re replicating that. Guys making the NHL and college is great, but the vast majority of guys become members of the community and contribute, so that is very satisfying.”

Clearly, the Nitehawks team is bigger than the roster and the coaching staff more than the coaches. The secret to the Nitehawks’ success is the combined support of it’s executive, parents, billets, fans, and volunteers that help the team go, the coaches’ families, their partners and wives, who all contribute to the Nitehawks success.

“For Terry to be doing this for 22 years, I’ve been in it for 10 or 12, and you (Cominotto) for eight or nine, our wives deserve so much credit, because without them we couldn’t be here,” said Birks. “Without their support we couldn’t do this.”

As Terry Jones Sr. said at the Nitehawks banquet Monday, ‘The Nitehawks are more than an organization, it’s a family.’

And, if the younger Jones stays behind the bench for another 20 years, the family will be in good hands.

The Nitehawks begin their playoff run against the Grand Forks Border Bruins at the Hawks Nest on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Beaver Valley Nitehawks host annual Awards Banquet

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks celebrated its 35th season in the KIJHL at its annual awards banquet at the Riverbelle on Monday with over 150 supporters attending. 

An entertaining evening of comic relief courtesy of Terry Sr. greeted supporters, coaches and players, while Hawks veterans and rookies teed off in a fun match of Family Feud that complimented the fine food and refreshments.

Supporters got to know the team a little better thanks to assistant coaches Bill Birks and Jeremy Cominotto who gave brief but enlightening profiles of each player. Head coach and GM Terry Jones emceed the event and thanked the many volunteers, billets, and fans as well as its affiliate players from the Major Midget Kootenay Ice for their contributions. 

Trail Smoke Eaters coach and GM Cam Keith also attended the banquet and, as a player on Jones’ first KIJHL and Cyclone Taylor championships in 1997, he impressed upon the Hawks players how tough it is to win championships, and to be thankful for the opportunity. 170222-TDT-NHawards

Back from left: Bradley Ross and Jaxen Gemmell- Top Rookies, Devin Ghirardosi- Most Improved, Tyler Hartman – Top Scorer and Bill Volpatti Award of Merit, McKoy Hauck- Top Defenceman, Nolan Percival – Most Inspirational, and Aiden170222-TDT-Nitehawksvets Browell- Most Sportsmanlike. Front from left: Damon Kramer- Most Improved, Sam Swanson- Most Dedicated and Inspirational, Kyle Hope – Most Popular, and Tallon Kramer – Most Valuable Player and Most Dedicated.

The Tom Meekes Volunteer Award was given to Brenda and Bruce Butlin, with the Pat Corrado Award going to Nitehawks president Dennis Bedin.

Right photo:The Nitehawks also recognized graduating players for their dedication and leadership. from left: Tyler Hartman, McKoy Hauck, Mitch Foyle, Kyle Hope, and Tallon Kramer.

 

 

 

 

Shorthanded Nitehawks drop final weekend games

It wasn’t the finish to the regular season the Beaver Valley Nitehawks expected, but with the KIJHL title and home-ice wrapped up, a little adversity may prove a positive before the playoffs begin on Friday.

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Hampered by injury to top forwards Tyler Hartman and Nolan Percival the Nitehawks’ season-long 16-game winning streak came to an end on Friday with a 6-3 loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters at the Hawk’s Nest, and was followed by a tough 3-2 OT setback to the Ghostriders in Fernie on Sunday.

“It’s the right time to have that happen to us,” said Nitehawks head coach and GM Terry Jones. “We view that everything happens for a reason; our extended roll was amazing and we found ways to win at times we probably should have lost. When that happens you build up that false sense of security, so that now I think it refocuses us and it’s the right time to start getting ready for playoffs.”

The Nitehawks racked up 80 points this season with 38 wins, five regulation time losses, one tie, and three overtime losses, their best record since the 2013-14 season when the won the KIJHL championship, Cyclone and Keystone Cups. That year, the Hawks played five more games in the regular schedule and ended the season with identical 38 wins and 80 points, but with 10 losses, a tie, and three OTLs.

On Sunday, the Ghostriders took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal from Aidan Wilson at 6:33 of the first period, but B.V. regrouped in the second period when Dylan Heppler tied it on a scramble in front of the Fernie net at 12:15. Tyler Ghirardosi put the Hawks up 2-1 scoring a shorthanded goal on a breakaway with assists to Jaxon Gemmel and goalie Owen Sikkes.

The Nitehawks netminder was outstanding throughout the physical match, stopping 45 shots, as the Ghostriders enjoyed eight power-play opportunities, including two game misconducts to an already shorthanded Nitehawks team. A penalty to the Hawks captain Sam Swanson with 1:09 to play proved their undoing, as the Ghostriders Keelan Saworski score five seconds later to tie the game and force overtime.

“Owen (Sikkes) played really well,” said Jones. “The game was there, and I thought we played decently, but ultimately, another thing that has to improve is – our lack of discipline was something that needs to be addressed and it will. Guys were frustrated with the officiating, and let their frustrations get away from themselves.”

Ryan Kennedy ended it with 1:48 remaining in the first OT period, scoring on an unassisted effort for the 3-2 victory. Kennedy was named player of the game for Fernie, while Sikkes took the nod for the Nitehawks, as the Ghostriders outshot B.V. 48-38 and went 2-for-8 on the power play, while the Hawks were scoreless in just three opportunities .

On Friday, the Dynamiters jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead, and the Nitehawks couldn’t recover, as Kimberley earned its first victory of the season over B.V. Brandt Bertoia scored twice for Kimberley and added an assist, with Brandon Langridge netting a goal and three assists, and singles from Franco Colapaolo, James Farmer, and Devon Langelaar. Tyler Gharardosi, Sidoni, and Swanson replied for the Hawks, with Evan Gorman pitching in with two assists.

“We had an off-night, and every time we made a mistake, our mistakes were big mistakes,” said Jones. “They’re mistakes that we’vebeen trying to rectify – in terms of our back check and picking people up, our defensive zone coverage. We just need to shore some things up. We’re going to watch some video and we’ll get better and be ready for our next game.”

Player of the game went to B.V.’s Aiden Browell and Kimberley’s Bertoia, as the Hawks outshot the Nitros 37-28.

The Nitehawks will play the Grand Forks Border Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.  The Nelson Leafs trailed the Border Bruins by one point as the two teams faced each other on Saturday in a battle of third and fourth seeds in the Murdoch division. The Leafs went on to defeat the Bruins 5-2 and claim the third spot in the Neil Murdoch division. The Leafs face off against the Castlegar Rebels in the other first round best-of-seven match up.

 
 

 

Nitehawks clinch KIJHL title, face Nitros tonight

There was no fanfare, but earlier this week the Beaver Valley Nitehawks won the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s regular season title, without even stepping on the ice.170216-TDT-HawkswinKIJHL

An Osoyoos Coyotes 6-4 loss to the Summerland Steam on Monday clinched the KIJHL overall-points crown for the Nitehawks, a title they last won in 2012.

“It was pretty exciting when we won the game on Saturday, we thought that was it,” said Hawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “It’s a feather in your cap and I think our team’s excited by that for sure.”

The 36-8-0-1 Coyotes had won nine straight in the Okanagan Conference and could have caught the Hawks if they had won out and BV lost their remaining games, but the loss to the second place Steam decided the matter.

“They (Osoyoos) are a good team, and I know they’re really well coached, and a really good organization. So to beat the Coyotes and get the top notch in the league is awesome … but we have larger fish to fry.”

Beaver Valley plays the 32-13-0-1 Kimberley Dynamiters tonight in its last regular-season home game, and while the Hawks have won the previous two match ups, B.V. will be without leading scorer Tyler Hartman, forwards Nolan Percival and Damon Kramer, and defencemen Karsten Jang and Ryan Terpsma. But with the Major Midget Kootenay Ice on the road, B.V. has few options for affiliate players and will ice a short lineup tonight.

“We’re banged up, and we’re banged up like Trail (Smoke Eaters) is,” said Jones. “We have five or six guys out and it’s hard because we can’t get any affiliates ourselves that weekend.”

Despite having clinched the KIJHL title, the Hawks won’t rest on their laurels in their final two games against Kimberley tonight and Fernie on Sunday.

“We look at every game as a must win … and going into it we know Kimberley is a team we may face in the (Kootenay Conference) finals and Fernie is the same. Teams in that division are all tough and each game provides another opportunity for us to grow and get better.”

The Nitehawks have only lost four games this season, and won their 16th in a row on Saturday with a 7-2 victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies. They won’t match the 42 wins of 2011-12 due to a shortened 47-game schedule this year, with KIJHL teams playing five fewer games, however, their 38 victories and counting is the league’s best and the most the Hawks have won since then.

“We’ve found a way to win all kinds of games, and that’s a credit to the leadership of our team,” said Jones. “I really feel it’s their preparation that has enabled us to stay on this extended run.”

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks will also tip its hat to its heritage by recognizing the contribution of over 30 head and assistant Nitehawk coaches with a ceremony before tonight’s game.

Beaver Valley takes on Kimberley at 7:30 p.m. at the Beaver Valley Arena tonight, Feb. 17, and travels to Fernie to play the Ghostriders on Sunday.

 Beaver Valley Nitehawks fertile ground for Trail Smoke Eaters

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The Trail Smoke Eaters lineup is decimated by injury, but rather than paying the price for icing raw talent, Smoke Eater coach and GM Cam Keith has embraced the fresh affiliate troops from the KIJHL and turned adversity into points.

“These kids in Beaver Valley and Creston their habits are great, and naturally fit into our systems here,” said Keith. “I have to give a lot of credit to the KIJHL teams we’re using right now.”

The Nitehawk’s Tyler Ghirardosi played in his sixth match on Friday and was named the Fortis Energy Player of the Game in a 2-1 loss to Penticton, while fellow Nitehawks Bradley Ross, 16, and Rossland’s Karsten Jang suited up for their fourth game in the past three weeks on Sunday, and defenceman Trail’s Jake Yuris saw action in two Smokies’ matches.

“With how (Nitehawks head coach and GM) Terry (Jones) runs his program, the kids just play so hard, and their habits are just tremendous,” said Keith. “Especially, because the kids are mostly local kids and the whole point of having a team in Trail is giving local kids the opportunity to play junior hockey, and if they can, I want to make that happen.”

The Smoke Eaters picked up two points in four games, losing to BCHL powerhouses Wenatchee Wild 5-4 Sunday and Penticton Vees in overtime 4-3 Wednesday and 2-1 on Friday, and tying Salmon Arm Tuesday. However, Trail has been riddled with injuries, and, most recently, without three of their top scorers in Kale Howarth, Josh Laframboise and Ross Armour. In addition, regular forwards Mitch Stapley and Ryan Murphy, and defenceman Tyson Slater and Kyle Chernenkoff were also watching from the stands.

injured Smokies

“If you look at our schedule, it was kind of a murderer’s row schedule this last week (four games in six days),” said Keith. “But we came away with some points and we played some good hard games, and that’s going to help us moving forward against Merritt and Vernon in these last four games.”

The Smokies went into last week’s odyssey having lost just once-in-five games. Creston AP Justen James, Ghirardosi and Ross played on the same line and created some chemistry with James scoring the winning goal against Merritt on a setup from Ghirardosi, and Ross adding two assists in an 8-3 victory over Coquitlam, and were instrumental in a huge 6-3 victory over Penticton on Jan. 28.

“They didn’t look out of place,” said Jones, the Nitehawks coach and GM. “They made good contributions offensively, turned some shifts around, had some great possession, drew some penalties, so they were definitely a factor.”

Although the Nitehawks miss having its top players in the lineup, as far as Jones is concerned, it’s a win-win for both the teams and the players.

“There’s no question that helps them,” said Jones. “They go to that level and they get a taste of what it’s like at the Jr. A level, the speed of the game … It’s a great experience for our boys to be a part of that, so it’s exciting and hopefully that’s a spot that’s in the future for them.”

Both Trail and B.V. are in action this Friday, as the Smoke Eaters host the Merritt Centennials at 7:30 p.m. at the Cominco Arena and the Nitehawks play their final regular-season home match against the Kimberley Dynamiters at the same time at the B.V. Arena.

Nitehawks soar over Rockies, wrap up regular season this weekend

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The Beaver Valley Nitehawks rolled to a 7-2 victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies on Saturday in Invermere.

Trail’s Blake Sidoni scored twice and added two assists for the Hawks, as B.V. jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead on their way to a league-leading 38th victory and 16th straight win.

Sam Swanson, Sidoni, and Tyler Ghirardosi scored in the opening frame as B.V. outshot the Rockies 25-5 in the period.

Sidoni scored his second of the night and 15th of the season less than a minute into the second period to put the Hawks up 4-0 and Aiden Browell made it 5-0 before C.V. replied.

Brayden Barker and Ryan St. Jean netted back-to-back goals for the Rockies to make it 5-2 but the Hawks iced it with markers from Tyler Gharardosi to end the second and the third period’s lone goal from Mitch Foyle on the power play for the 7-2 final.

B.V. outshot Columbia Valley 56-25 and went 1-for-1 on the power play, the only odd-man advantage in the match. The Rockies clinched the fourth seed in the Eddie Murdoch Division earlier this month and will face the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the first round of playoffs.

Despite posting the second-most goals in the league (213), the Nitehawks have just one player, Tyler Hartman, in the Top-20 scoring. Yet, a prodigiously balanced attack (14 players have tallied 20 points or more) and the leagues’ stingiest defence, 96 goals against, has given the Nitehawks the best goals-differential in the KI at a stunning +117.

The Nitehawks lead the Okanagan-Shushwap Conference’s top team, the Osoyoos Coyotes, by six points and can wrap up the KIJHL regular season title with a single point in their remaining two matches against Kimberley at the Hawks Nest on Friday, or in Fernie on Sunday. The Coyotes have three games remaining.

The puck drop for the B.V.- Kimberley game goes at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Nitehawks Fishing Team

Former Nitehawk Andrew Miller and goaltender Tallon Kramer fishing by Gyro Park in Trail.

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Damon Kramer entertaining a class full of kids at St Michael School

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Nitehawks clinch Kootenay Conference title with win over Thunder Cats

A 2-1 win over the Eddie Murdoch division leading Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Wednesday clinched the Kootenay Conference title for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

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The Nitehawks’ 77 th point and 37th victory in 44 games sewed up the Kootenay Conference regular season title, with Creston trailing by nine points and only three games remaining. The Hawks can clinch the KIJHL overall points title with either one more victory in its last three matches or a loss by the Osoyoos Coyotes. The Okanagan-Shushwap Conference team trails B.V. by eight points, but have five games remaining.

Mitch Foyle scored his third straight game-winning goal to lift the Hawks to the 2-1 victory and B.V.’s 15th straight win.

Kevan McBean notched his second of the season on the power play midway through the opening frame to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. But Creston battled back and Austin Anselmo netted his own power-play goal with 4:03 to play in the period.

Creston pressed in the second outshooting B.V. 12-6, but Hawks goalie Tallon Kramer was stellar once again holding the Thunder Cats off the board the rest of the way.

Foyle tallied his 16th of the season and sixth game-winning goal in just 21 games since joining the Hawks at the end of November.

Kramer earned the game star for the Nitehawks for his 30 saves, while his counterpart Brock LeFebvre earned game star for Creston with 28 saves.

The Nitehawks next face the Columbia Valley Rockies in Invermere on Saturday before returning home Feb. 17 for their final regular season home game against the Kimberley Dynamite.

The Nitehawks win back-to-back thrillers on road 

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks finished off their schedule against Neil Murdoch Division opponents in dramatic but winning fashion on the weekend.

The Nitehawks defeated the Castlegar Rebels 3-2 in the second overtime on Friday, then skated to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Nelson Leafs Saturday.

HepplervsLeafs

“Both games were very tight games,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “Both featured excellent goaltending on our part … so it was two great results goaltending wise for our team, and really gutsy wins.”

The Hawks finished its eight-game series 7-1 against the Rebels and 6-2 versus the Leafs this season with all three losses coming in September. The Hawks have suffered just one loss since Sept. 30, and can wrap up the Kootenay Conference regular season title with one more victory and the KIJHL overall title with two more wins, to guarantee home-ice advantage for playoffs.

“I think it has some significance, in terms of the short window, and playoffs and other divisions,” said Jones. “It’s the best out of five playoff rounds, so it does have some significance and we’d like to get that feather in our cap for sure.”

The Hawks stormed back from a 3-1 third-period deficit to beat the Leafs 4-3. Mitch Foyle netted the winner, breaking in on the off-wing and wiring it by the Nelson goalie with 64 seconds left on the clock for the Nitehawks league-best 36th win.

“Mitch Foyle, he’s just dangerous, whenever he gets the puck on his stick and he gets a chance to shoot it, it’s got a chance, and that’s kind of what happened on the fourth goal,” said Jones.

Dylan Kent opened the scoring at 6:09 of the first period with a power-play goal, but the Leafs replied with two in the second period from Sawyer Hunt and Ryan Piva to go up 2-1. Dale Howell made it a two-goal lead at 16:19 of the final frame, before the Hawks cued up a couple turning points, said Jones.

“Owen (Sykkes) was amazing in the second period, keeping us in it, and we put (defenceman) McKoy Hauck up front, and he just provided a spark and leadership that just seemed to carry forward for the rest of the guys.”

Dylan Heppler batted the puck out of the air and in, on a shot from Blake Sidoni, to bring the Hawks to within one, and Bradley Ross made a nice play to setup Aiden Browell for his 10th of the season to tie it 3-3 on the power play at 7:59.

The Leafs outshot B.V. 30-25 with Sikkes getting the win in a solid performance for the Nitehawks, while Devin Allen took the loss for Nelson. Foyle earned the game star for B.V. and Piva for the Leafs.

In Friday’s match, Tallon Kramer stopped a penalty shot in the second OT period, and Foyle scored the 3-on-3 double-overtime winner for a thrilling 3-2 victory.

After a scoreless 4-on-4 first overtime, the Nitehawks were facing defeat when a penalty was called in the second OT resulting in an automatic penalty shot. The Leafs leading scorer Logan Styler skated in on Kramer and made a dazzling deke that left the Hawks goalie down and out, but Kramer lifted his pad at just the right moment to stop the shot and give the Hawks another life.

“Styler made a brilliant move, he had Tallon committed, but Tallon at the last minute somehow flipped his pads up to just get enough of the puck to keep it out of the net,” said Jones. “It was incredible.”

Foyle ended it shortly after when he took a pass from Sam Swanson walked in and sniped a quick snapshot past Chandler Billinghurst for the Hawks 14th straight victory. It was Foyle’s second of the game as Blake Sidoni scored the other Nitehawk marker, and Brandon Costa and John Moeller replied for the Rebels.

The Hawks outshot Castlegar 44-38 and were 0-for-4 on the power play while Castlegar went 1-for-7. Hawks AP Christian Macasso and the Rebels Billinghurst were named the game’s stars.

Despite the Hawks impressive record against its Neil Murdoch Division rivals, the close matches indicate the Rebels and Leafs will be fiercely competitive come playoff time in just over two weeks.

“Both teams are going to be tough teams to play in the playoffs, and we know that. Playoffs are a different animal and we’re down in numbers and letting some guys play for Trail (as affiliate players). We have some guys hurt at the last minute, so it was a great character win in Nelson being down, and seeing the guys come together like that.”

The Nitehawks are on the road on Wednesday for a tilt against the Creston Thunder Cats.

Nitehawks dismantle Rebels in Castlegar

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The Beaver Valley Nitehawks stormed out of the gate scoring four first-period goals on their way to a 7-1 pounding of the Castlegar Rebels on Tuesday in Castlegar.

Grande Prairie native McKoy Hauck netted a hat trick, and Mitch Foyle scored twice for the Nitehawks to hand Castlegar it’s first loss in seven games, while B.V. rolled to its 12th consecutive victory.

“We got off to a good start, got an early goal, and then had some lulls in the game, but managed to come out with a great win,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “I liked the response after two games that were pretty average.”

It took just 59 seconds before Nitehawks forward Jaxen Gemmell converted a setup from Kevan McBean and Tyler Hartman to put the visitors up 1-0, and, two minutes and 40 seconds later, Mitch Foyle tallied what proved to be the winning goal taking a pass from Sam Swanson and beating Rebels goalie Chandler Billinghurst for a 2-0 Hawks lead.

Vince Bitonti cut the lead to one at 15:27, however, Foyle restored the two-goal lead finishing a dish from Tyler Ghirardosi midway through the period for his 12th goal and 22nd point in 18 games. Hauck scored his first-of-three on the night with a blistering drive from the point at 6:41 and a 4-1 B.V. lead, as B.V. outshot Castlegar 13-11 in the period.

The Nitehawks powerplay came alive in the second period. With Bitonti off for tripping, Gemmell and Tyler Hartman worked the puck to Hauck who one-timed it past Billinghurst at 7:21. Four minutes later, the Nitehawks pressed the repeat button, and Hauck completed the hat trick, beating Billinghurst from the top of the circle on a setup from Hartman and Swanson. The 20-year-old Hauck has eight points in his last three games to lead all Kootenay Conference defencemen in scoring with 14 goals and 24 assists for 38 points in 36 games, and at six-foot-two, 190 pounds, the veteran d-man is a force on the Hawks blue line with 129 penalty minutes.

““He (Hauck) was shooting the puck well last night,” said Jones. “A couple really nice power-play goals and the key for him is getting the pucks through, and I thought his decision making to get pucks through was great … They were great shots.”

The Hawks took a 6-1 lead into the third period, as frustration began to set in for the Rebels. After the Castlegar’s Jacob Laplante was sent off for a too-many-men infraction, Bradley Ross scored the Nitehawks third power-play goal with Swanson and Blake Sidoni assisting.

The Nitehawks outshot the Rebels 36-24 with Tallon Kramer earning his league leading 26th win in net, while Swanson and Hartman each pitched in with three assists. Hauck and Bitonti were named players of the game for their respective teams.

The Castlegar tilt may be a preview of the Neil Murdoch division final with the 24-16-0-0 Rebels comfortably in second place in the Neil Murdoch Division standings, behind the 34-4-1-0 Nitehawks. The two teams face each other again on Friday in Castlegar, and the Nitehawks end their series against Neil Murdoch Division teams on Saturday in Nelson against the Leafs.

“The game is so hard all the time, and it’s 7-1, but it’s a hard game,” said Jones. “The guys are battling through, and I know Castlegar is missing some key guys, every game is a different animal. We have these guys (the Rebels) on Friday again, and it got a little testy on Tuesday night, so we’ll see where it gets to.”

The Hawks have just one home-game remaining against the Kimberley Dynamiters, Feb. 17, and wrap up their season two days later in Fernie, with their last four games against Eddie Murdoch Division teams.

Beaver Valley dominated their division and Kootenay Conference rivals this season punctuated by wins over Creston and a 9-2 victory over the conference-champion Dynamiters last month. The Hawks wrapped up the Murdoch Division regular-season title three weeks ago without much pushback from division teams. The shortened 47-game schedule and no action against the Okanagan-Shushwap Conference this year has saved teams money by limiting travel, however, it has detracted from the energy and excitement of previous years, and leaves the element of uncertainty for a potential Kootenay Conference champion when it comes down to a KIJHL final.

“There’s a part of that that’s good and there’s a part that’s bad,” added Jones. “I do not like the lack of crossovers. You don’t know what you’re going to get from the other divisions, we have no idea. There’s no measuring stick.”

Playoffs are scheduled to start Feb. 24, with Beaver Valley facing the fourth seed in the Murdoch Division.

 

Nitehawks call out to former players

There is strength in family, and that’s why the Beaver Valley Nitehawks are asking former players and coaches to return to the nest and help build the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Alumni Association.170131-TDT-bv mckinney-web

Since its 1981-82 inaugural season, the Nitehawks have seen more than 500 players take to the ice wearing the blue and orange. Many went on to play Junior A, University, and professional hockey, and a select few, including hometown products Adam Deadmarsh and Barret Jackman, enjoyed lengthy careers in the NHL, with alumni Cody Franson in his 10th NHL season and his second with the Buffalo Sabres.

However, the vast majority of Nitehawks alumni take the more well-trodden paths and go on to careers outside of hockey, raise families, and contribute in their own way. But there are many challenges that face players when junior hockey is over, an organized and effective Nitehawks Alumni Association would offer support and assistance when needed.

“Last year we had a player attending Selkirk College in Castlegar and there were days he couldn’t afford the gas to drive to school,” explained Nitehawks head coach and GM Terry Jones. “The pressures on this young man were enormous and he was unable to continue his studies.

“An alumni association could have a minimal yearly fee of $10 or $20, which could specifically be used for scholarships and training for current and graduating players.”

The Nitehawks legacy has humble beginnings with two Beaver Valley residents Darrell Dickson and Shirley Levesque building the team based on a burgeoning BV minor hockey program. The early teams set the stage for excellence, as the Nitehawks grew into one of the winningest teams in league history. Over the next three decades the Nitehawks won their division championship 12 times, the KIJHL Championship seven times, three Cyclone Taylor Championships, and one Keystone Cup Championship.

The Nitehawks Alumni Association will reunite former teammates through social media, newsletters, and a variety of functions from a reboot of the annual alumni hockey game to summer golf tournaments. More significantly, the idea of an “NHAA” scholarship fund can directly assist and motivate Nitehawk players to work toward their training and educational goals beyond hockey.

“With our credo, ‘Once a Nitehawk, always a Nitehawk,’ we can all pull together and proudly reach out to those following in our footsteps,” added Jones.

Nitehawks are encouraged to get in touch with other Nitehawks, and contact the team via the Nitehawks Facebook page or their website, bvnitehawks.ca, with their email addresses and contact information.

 

American Hockey League pays tribute to Cunningham at All-Star Game

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The American Hockey League honoured Tucson Roadrunners captain and former Beaver Valley Nitehawk Craig Cunningham at its All-Star Game on Monday night, with players wearing his No. 14 during warmups.

cunningham portland fotoCunningham, 26, collapsed on the ice before a game Nov. 19 and required advanced procedures to save his life.

AHL president and CEO David Andrews said Monday morning the league wanted to bring Cunningham to All-Star weekend but couldn’t because of travel restrictions. A video tribute to Cunningham played during the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament, and the No. 14 jerseys will be auctioned off to support AHL charities.

“It’s a classy move by the AHL,” Roadrunners teammate Christian Fischer said while smiling at the No. 14 jerseys hung around the locker room. “Craig probably saw it on social media, he’s probably smiling. It’s a pretty nice tribute from the whole league, I think. As the Roadrunners we can’t thank them enough for doing that, and obviously Craig he deserves it all. He’s been fighting hard.”

Quick work by medics on the scene at Tucson Arena and care at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson is credited with keeping Cunningham alive. He had to have part of his left leg amputated, but is rehabilitating and is around the team on occasion despite no longer being able to play.

“He comes into the rink every once in a while before the game or even practices,” teammate Kyle Wood said. “It’s awesome to see that he’s doing good, and it always lifts our spirits to see him at the rink.”

Cunningham, who was named Tucson captain two weeks before he collapsed, appeared in 63 NHL games for the Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes. Andrews said he hopes Cunningham still has a career in hockey if that’s what he wants.

“He’s a strong guy,” Andrews said. “It’ll be a good outcome in the end for him. But it’s a sad story. He’s a terrific hockey player and a guy in the prime of his career, to have that happen for reasons that no one understands yet what caused it, but he’s got our support and he’s got the support of his players’ association and we’re hoping he has as good a recovery as he can have.”

Cunningham played for the Nitehawks in the 2005-06 season as a 15-year-old, and scored 19 goals and 44 points before moving on to the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants.

Nitehawks blast Braves in Spokane

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The Beaver Valley Nitehawks weren’t as sharp as they could have been after enjoying a light-schedule last week, but still beat the Spokane Braves 5-1 on Sunday at Eagles Ice Arena in Spokane.

“We were probably if anything a bit rusty,” said B.V. coach and GM Terry Jones, whose team last played on Jan. 21 against Columbia Valley. “I don’t think we had the sharpness we like to have in terms of just quickness in our game, but we had some good moments. We possessed the puck well, but I don’t think we attacked with the ferocity that we normally would.”

The Nitehawks had five different players ripple the twine for the team’s 33rd victory of the season in an all-out onslaught of the Braves. Hawks affiliate player Tommie McConnachie scored with 3:27 to play in the first period for what proved to be the winning goal as the Nitehawks led 2-0 heading into the second period, with defenceman Dylan Kent and fellow defender AP Connor Seib getting the assists.

The Nitehawks coach took advantage of a Major Midget Kootenay Ice break in action this weekend and inserted McConnachie and Seib into the lineup, and gave veteran Hawks like Sam Swanson, Kyle Hope, and Tallon Kramer a rest.

“It’s just maintenance,” said Jones. “Some guys get some nagging injuries, and it was a great opportunity with the Major Midgets off to get Tom and Connor in, and we’ll try to get a couple other guys in when we can this week.”

Spokane’s Mason Jones cut the lead in half at 9:29, for the only goal of the period. Braves goalie J. J. Pichette was unbeatable in the second, as the Nitehawks outshot the Braves 36-17 through two periods. So the Hawks stepped it up in the third, and fired 28 shots at the beleaguered Braves goalie.

Dylan Kent tallied his sixth of the season on the power play at 13:24 from Seib and Dylan Heppler, and Bradley Ross scored his 14th on a Damon Kramer and Ryan Terpsma set up for a 4-1 lead with 1:39 remaining. Karsten Jang finished the scoring 45 seconds later on a nice play from Ross and Aiden Browell.

“I thought we came out with a really good third-period effort, but we were missing some key leadership guys on Sunday … and it was a closer game than it needed to be.”

B.V. fired 64 shots at the Spokane net and went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Braves managed 24 on Hawks goalie Owen Sikkes.

Beaver Valley has seven games remaining in the regular season with a rare Tuesday night game against the Rebels in Castlegar this week. The Rebels are currently in second place and have not lost a game in six starts since falling to the Nitehawks in the Neil Murdoch division clinching title game on Jan. 15. With two games in hand and a six-point cushion on third-place Nelson Leafs, the Rebels are the odds-on favourite to finish runner up to B.V.

Castlegar’s biggest assets are KIJHL leading scorer Logan Styler who has 24 goals and 67 points in 37 games this season, and 20-year-old Chandler Billinghurst, who will likely get the start in net and boasts a 2.79 GAA and a .921 save percentage.

The 12-time Murdoch division champion Nitehawks lead the Kootenay Conference by five points over the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and are ahead in the KIJHL regular-season race by four points over the Okanagan-Shushwap Conference’s Osoyoos Coyotes. B.V. has suffered just four losses this season, something Jones says is the fewest number in his 20 years behind the Hawks’ bench.

“We haven’t really talked about it much, but with the start that we had, and then we get onto that long (15-game win) streak, and now we’re on another (11-game) streak, it’s been a great season. But at the end of the day, we know this season ends, and a whole new season (playoffs) begins, and we just want to keep getting better and ready for it.”

The Hawks are road warriors and play five straight matches away from home before returning to the Hawks Nest on Feb. 17 to play the Kimberley Dynamiters. B.V. closes out the regular season in Fernie on Feb 19.

The puck drop in Castlegar on Tuesday is 7 p.m.

 

Neil Murdoch division champs down Rockies

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It may have gone largely unnoticed but the Beaver Valley Nitehawks clinched the Neil Murdoch Division title last week in a 7-4 victory over the Castlegar Rebels on Jan. 15. 

The Hawks were the first team in the KIJHL to lock up their division title and then stretched their winning streak to 10 games on Saturday against the Columbia Valley Rockies at the B.V. Arena. McKoy Hauk netted the winner and Tyler Ghirardosi had a three-point night as the Beaver Valley Nitehawks skated to a 6-3 victory over the Rockies.

“We knew they were a hard working team, and we knew that they were a physical team, I just don’t think we were ready to respond, and we didn’t have an answer for them early on,” said Cominotto.

After pitching in with four assists in Sunday’s win over Castlegar, the Hawks’ Hauk scored his 11th of the season on the power play taking a pass from Tyler Hartman and blasting a point shot that launched the water bottle from the top of the net for a 4-2 B.V. lead.

“It was a pretty nice pass from number 21, Hartman, and it just went my way tonight,” said Hauk. “Our team’s been playing unreal lately. Our dump and chase, and forecheck is pretty good, and everyone is playing pretty well together.”

Tyler Bordt put the Rockies on the board four minutes into the match, as the Rockies came out fast and hard. The Rockies’ pace and physicality combined with five straight B.V. penalties initially set the Hawks back on their heels, and kept the momentum in C.V.’s favour as the Rockies outshot the Hawks 11-8 and took a 1-0 lead into the second period.

“We’re not going to shy away from a physical game, but obviously we’re a skating team, and we’re not going to go out there and try to run teams over,” said Cominotto. “But we need to be able to respond when teams come in and try to be aggressive with us, and I think we did a pretty good job of that for the most part.”

B.V. regained its footing when Nolan Percival’s wrist shot from the top of the circle found its way through traffic to tie it at 18:05 of the second period.

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C.V.’s Colby Sherlock came right back and beat Hawks goalie Tallon Kramer five hole to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead, but B.V.’s Dylan Heppler found Ghirardosi alone in front and the Montrose native made no mistake roofing a quick snapshot top corner to tie it. The Hawks kept the momentum going when Tyler Hartman finished off a beautiful passing play with Dylan Kent to give B.V. the lead for good at 8:45, and two minutes later the 20-year-old Hauk’s point shot on the power play made it 4-2.

The Nitehawks enjoyed a two-man power play late in the period and Blake Sidoni banged in a loose puck on a goalmouth scramble with five seconds left for a 5-2 lead, as the Hawks outshot the Rockies 16-4.

The Nitehawks took a 6-2 lead at 14:43 of the final frame when Jake Yuris’ point shot beat a screened McCreight. Columbia Valley tallied one more on a power play but that was as close as the Eddie Mountain Division team would get as B.V. outshot C.V. 39-31 and went 2-for-6 on the power play.

With just eight games to play in a shortened 47 game schedule for B.V., the 32-4-1-2 Nitehawks sit 23 points up on the second-place Castlegar Rebels, 22-15-0-0, who have 10 games remaining.

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If the playoffs were to start tomorrow, the Nitehawks would play fourth place Grand Forks, while Nelson would take on Castlegar, however, only four points separate the three teams heading into the final games of the season, and, regardless who they face, the Hawks are ready for the challenge.

“We’re calm and we’re confident,” added Hauk. “But we’re not over-confident.”

After a heavy schedule of back-to-back three-game weekends, the Hawks enjoy an extended break before their next match on Sunday in Spokane against the Braves.

“We go from playing six games in 10 days to playing two games in 14. It’s not ideal for us, I know our guys want to play, our coaching staff wants to play,” said Cominotto. “It would have been better if we had a couple of two-game weekends in there, but it’s good to get the rest.”

Hawks notes: The Hawks will be without Devin Ghirardosi for the remainder of the season due to injury, and his status for the playoffs remains uncertain.

Sept. 8, 2016

Beaver Valley Nitehawks ready for real season

by  Jim Bailey – Trail Daily Times

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks capped off an intense pre-season schedule with a 5-0 victory over the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Tuesday at the B.V. Arena and will open its season on Friday against the Nelson Leafs.

After seven exhibition games in eight days, the Hawks are primed for the real season. Although managing just two wins, it was enough to find the right chemisty of rookies to go with a full complement of veteran players – a mix that showed its potential on Tuesday.

“We had lots of guys in camp, and gave the young guys lots of games,” said Nitehawks assistant Bill Birks. “We tied two and lost two close ones, then we pared down a little bit on Sunday and this is our team right here, and I think we played a pretty solid 60 minutes.”

Five different scorers chipped in for the Hawks, highlighted by two early setups from rookies Brad Ross and Aiden Browell. Midway through the first period, Ross coralled a bouncing puck, made a slick move around the defenceman then saucered a perfect pass to Tyler Ghiradosi who one-timed the puck past Creston goalie Brock Lefebvre to score what proved to be the winning goal.

Not to be outdone, four minutes later Browell danced around the defenceman in the right circle then centered the puck to Sam Swanson who put a nifty deke on Lefebvre to make it 2-0 Hawks.

“Aiden Browell I thought played a really good game tonight,” said Birks. “Damon Kramer, another young kid played good too, and Bradley Ross, a big body, is going to be a really good addition to this team – we’re pretty excited about it.”

As a three-year veteran, Swanson, a tough two-way player and gifted playmaker, will share leadership duties among the returning veterans and is eager to get the KIJHL season underway.