Nitehawks earn point against league-leading Kelowna Chiefs

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks trio of Ryan Crisalli, Paul Leroux and Michael Hagen performed some on-ice wizardry on Saturday as the line combined for 10 points in a 5-5 tie with the league-leading Kelowna Chiefs.

A shorthanded Beaver Valley Nitehawks team had their work cut out for them on the weekend, hosting two of the league’s top teams in back-to-back games.

Beaver Valley fell 5-2 to the Eddie Mountain Division leading Kimberley Dynamiters (13-3-0-0) on Friday, but an inspired effort on Saturday at the Beaver Valley Arena earned the Nitehawks a point in the draw against the 15-0-1-1 Chiefs.

With injuries to forwards Bradley Ross, Morgan Peace, Simon Nemethy, and Angus Amadio, Beaver Valley has been hard-pressed to generate consistent offence, so the five-goal outburst on Saturday was encouraging.

“We were actually quite proud of the guys (on Saturday),” said Nitehawks assistant coach Shane Drake. “Us being shorthanded and some of our top guys being out of the line up, the guys really stepped up, it was nice to see.”

The Hawks were also buoyed by the return of starting goalie Noah Decottignies on the weekend after missing more than two weeks with concussion.

“Definitely good having him back in the line up,” said Drake. “So hopefully he’s good for some time to come, with him in the line up you’re not worried so much about getting the odd-man rush up against you.”

Kelowna forward Zach Erhardt scored his first of two on the night just 49 seconds into the match, but B.V. tied it on a power play when Hagen and Leroux worked the puck to Kyle Guenter and the Calgary native wired a shot top shelf at 8:32.

B.V. continued to press and tallied its second power-play goal at 3:41, when Crisalli and Leroux fed Brock Wallace for a 2-1 lead. And the Nitehawks weren’t done, as Reese Tambelini stepped out of the penalty box and joined Crisalli on a 2-on-1, and the 18-year-old Calgary product flew down the left wing then feathered a perfect pass to Tambellini to put the Hawks up 3-1.

However, KIJHL leading scorer Brody Dale made the Hawks pay after two late penalties in the first period. Dale took advantage of the 5-on-3 a minute into the second period, beating Decottignies between the pads on a quick shot from the slot.

B.V. replied at 17:20 when Hagen made a great move in the corner to shake the d-man and found Crisalli backdoor for his eighth of the season. The Hawks continued to generate quality chances, and on yet another power play, Hawks captain Jake Yuris wired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and past Chiefs goalie Braeden Mitchell to give the Hawks a 5-2 lead.

Beaver Valley outshot the Chiefs, 28-17, through two periods, but the Chiefs, led by former Nitehawk Dylan Kent, stormed back in the third.

Kent, who was traded to Kelowna earlier this month in a three-way deal that brought Luke Recchi to B.V., made it 5-3 on a power-play blast from the point three minutes into the final frame.

Erhardt netted his second on the power play at 15:28, and Kent tied it with 5:51 to play, you guessed it, on another power-play goal, as Kelowna outshot the Hawks 14-4 in the period.

“It happens, a couple bad penalties,” said Drake. “It’s good to get those out of the way now.”

Neither team could settle the game in the two overtime periods, as both goalies came up big in the 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 five-minute periods.

The Nitehawks outshot the Chiefs 36-34 and went 3-for-9 on the power play, while Kelowna was 4-for-8.

Against Kimberley on Friday, Erik Delaire, former Major Midget Kootenay Ice forward, scored the game winner for the Dynamiters on a power-play goal. Delaire’s sixth of the season put the Nitros up 3-0 at 16:24 of the second period.

The Hawks battled back with Recchi and Guenter making it 3-2 before the period was out. However, a goal by Brock Palmer 58 seconds into the third, and an empty netter from Keegan McDowell iced it for Kimberley.

The Dynamiters outshot B.V. 30-25, going 2-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the PK.

B.V.’s record falls to 8-8-1-1, yet the tie against Kelowna actually cut the Nelson Leafs lead in the Neil Murdoch division to six points, after the Leafs lost 5-0 to Kelowna on Friday and 6-2 to Kimberley on Saturday. Kelowna is the top team in the KIJHL, leading the Okanagan Division with 32 points.

The Nitehawks hope to have Ross and Amadio back in the line up for their lone tilt this weekend against the Princeton Posse on Saturday. The puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. at the Beaver Valley Arena.