The Beaver Valley Nitehawks moved back atop the Neil Murdoch division standings with an 8-2 drubbing of the Spokane Braves on Tuesday at the Beaver Valley Arena.
Devin Nemes scored what proved to be the winning goal with 6:51 to play in the second period. Nemes made it 3-1 on a set up from Ryan Terpsma and Sam Swanson to give the Hawks their 19th ‘W’ of the season, and vault them into a tie with Castlegar for first place in the division.
The Nitehawks bombarded the Spokane net with 18 shots in the first period, but couldn’t solve netminder Blake Norman until the second period when Sam Swanson made his successful return from injury opening the scoring just over five minutes into the period as he took a Tyler Hartman pass and beat Norman for a 1-0 lead.
The Braves Connor McIntosh replied just over two minutes later, scoring a shorthanded marker on Hawks newest recruit Tallon Kramer to make it 1-1. But Blake Sidoni would net his third goal of the season and 14th point midway through the period, and Nemes would send it into the third with the 3-1 lead.
The Nitehawks then exploded for five goals in the final frame, with Michael Pruss starting it off at 13:51, followed by Braden Fuller’s 11th of the season to make it 5-1. Tyler Ghiradosi made it 6-1 on the power play with 8:21 to play, and netted his second of the game just eight seconds later. Spokane’s Mason Jones tallied his ninth goal as a Brave to cut the lead to 7-2 less than a minute later, and Jace Weegar would round out the scoring on a power play goal with 4:10 remaining.
The Hawks fired 19 shots at Norman in the third, and 47 in the game, while Kramer made 25 saves in net for B.V.
Swanson’s two-point night earned him player of the game for the Hawks, and Norman for the Braves. Fuller led B.V. with a goal and two assists, while Nelson native Nolan Percival had two helpers on the night.
The win is just a warm up in what will be a crucial month for the Neil Murdoch division standings, as the Hawks play Castlegar twice, Nelson Leafs three times, and Grand Forks and Spokane once, while having it’s only non-division game against the Fernie Ghostriders on Dec. 19 in Fernie.
“I think we can be a lot better in lots of areas,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones. “We’ve won a lot of games for a lot of different reasons, and I just think we have to get more consistent that’s for sure.”
“With having a weekend off after four games in a relatively short period of time, we hope our preparation for these game would work out. I think we’re just excited about playing and be ready to go.”