The Beaver Valley Nitehawks played arguably their best hockey of the season with convincing wins over the Eddie Mountain Division leading Kimberley Dynamiters and the Golden Rockets Friday and Saturday, before downing their Neil Murdoch Division rival Grand Forks Border Bruins 6-4 on Sunday.
“I think going into today’s game (versus Grand Forks), we were playing really well, probably as good as we’ve played all year,” said Nitehawks assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto. “This afternoon we didn’t have our best effort but we had a good third period and we were good enough to win.”
Hawks forward Mitch Foyle capped off a six-point weekend, scoring twice including the winning goal midway through the third period to break a 4-4 tie and lift the Nitehawks to a 6-4 victory over the Bruins, a team that is responsible for two of the Nitehawks’ four losses this season.
“We weren’t worried,” said Foyle. “We kept our composure and played our game, played hard, and the way we need to to be successful.”
Foyle scored his ninth of the season on a setup from Tyler Hartman, letting go a shot from the top of the faceoff circle for a 5-4 Hawks lead.
“Tyler passed it to me and I took the shot, but the guy blocked it and it came back to me and I just tried a quick shot, and it happened to go in,” said Foyle.
The three victories launch B.V. into first overall in the KIJHL in wins, 28, and points, 59, in what was a statement weekend for the Kootenay Conference team.
“We had a really strong weekend,” said Foyle. “Our mental toughness was there and that’s what we need to play three-games-in-three-days.”
The Hawks and Border Bruins traded goals through two periods with Grand Forks’ Reece Tambellini opening the scoring at 17:39 of the first. Four seconds later, the Hawk’s Ryan Terpsma’s shot beat Bruins goalie Tyler Loura to tie it, but less than a minute later Garret Brisebois put the Border Bruins back on top for a 2-1 lead.
Foyle notched his first of the night when he took a pass from Aiden Browell, flew down the wing and fired a laser over the glove of Loura to tie it at two heading into the second period, as B.V. outshot G.F. 18-11 in the period.
The second period saw both teams keep it close with Logan Hascarl putting the Bruins out front before goals from Tyler Hartman and Dylan Heppler gave B.V. the lead for the first time in the match. But with 4:50 to play in the period, Yoan Rodrigue’s goal locked the game at 4-4 heading into the third with Grand Forks outshooting B.V. 13-8 in the middle frame.
The Nitehawks came out with more jump in the third, but Loura thwarted a couple odd-man rushes before Foyle’s shot from the high-slot put the Hawks up for good. Hartman scored his second of the game and 14th of the season when he buried a feed from Blake Sidoni with 7:04 to play for the insurance.
The Hawks outshot the Border Bruins 37-32, and were 1-for-8 on the power play. Hartman was named the game star for the Nitehawks with Brisebois getting the nod for Grand Forks.
In Friday’s match up, B.V. had one of its most notable victories of the season when they travelled to Kimberley and throttled the Dynamiters 9-2. The Nitehawks Bradley Ross scored twice and added an assist, with the other goals coming from Jake Yuris, Dylan Kent, Devin Ghiradosi, Dylan Heppler, Foyle, Kevin McBean, and Sam Swanson.
“They have a good team over there, and we know we are going to have to go through them, Fernie, or Creston to get where we want to go,” said Cominotto. “So it was a big statement game for us, and I thought the boys really came out and responded well.”
The Hawks followed that up with a dominating 7-1 win over the Golden Rockets Saturday before finishing up with the victory over their division rival Bruins. Tyler Ghiradosi led the way for the Hawks, netting his first KIJHL hat trick against Golden, while Hartman pitched in with three assists. Josh Bresnick got the win in net for B.V. stopping 22 shots, while the Hawks fired 48 at the Rockets’ Owen Sikkes.
As for today’s (Jan. 10) trade deadline, the Nitehawks are understandably satisfied with the makeup of their team, and Cominotto says a player would have to be pretty special for his team to make a move.
“We found in the past, it’s a little disruptive to the room when you make a deal this late in the season. We only have 12 games left in the season, so for someone to come in here and try to gel with your team, it’s sometimes quite difficult … and we’re quite content with what we have.”
The Nitehawks have another three-in-three this weekend and host Grand Forks Friday at 7:30 p.m., followed by a tilt in Fernie with the Ghostriders on Saturday, and a return to the Hawks Nest on Sunday to face the Castlegar Rebels.