The Beaver Valley Nitehawks overcame a lot of adversity on the weekend, much of it self-inflicted, but managed to earn 3-of-4 points in a pair of home games.
Following a 5-5 tie with the Creston Valley Thundercats Friday night, the Hawks rebounded for a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Grand Forks on Saturday.
“It was weird, I’ve been saying for the last couple weeks that our defensive zone coverage needs to be a lot better, but thankfully our goaltending has been outstanding,” said Hawks coach Terry Jones, who celebrated his 50th birthday last week. “I don’t know if our team is just relaxing a bit in our defensive zone but we haven’t been very good and the quality chances we’ve give up and the number of shots we’ve given up in the last while has increased.”
The Nitehawks fell behind 3-1 to the Border Bruins Saturday, before coming back and winning it on a Braden Fuller goal with 1:17 to play in regulation. The goal was Fuller’s second of the night, 26th of the season and 57th point to lead all Hawks in scoring.
“After being pretty low on Friday, and blowing that lead, we came back and had some really great performances that got that win. Particularly Braden Fuller and Devin Nemes were guys that really stood up and played some inspired hockey for us,” said Jones.
Despite outshooting Grand Forks 17-9 in the first period, Beaver Valley trailed 2-1 heading into the second. The Bruins Bryson Yee opened the scoring at 8:11, but Fuller tied it 57 seconds later with assists to Tylers, Ghiradosi and Hartman. Grand Forks’ Dylan Haney tallied his 16th on the power play at 5:01 of the first, and beat Hawks goalie Brett Clark for his 17th less than a minute into the second period to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
Nemes brought the Hawks to within one when he took a Nolan Percival pass and wired it by Grand Forks goalie Anthony Galliart at 13:28 of the second period for his 12th of the season and send it to the third down 3-2.
Less than three minutes into the final frame, Percival then drew the Nitehawks even, finishing a nice set up from Nemes and Dylan Heppler.
“Grand Forks has a good team,” said Jones. “We knew three months ago, that this was a different team than they’ve been in the past. They compete hard and they are very well coached, and very well structured and we respect them a lot.”
For the first time this season, the Bruins outshot the Nitehawks, 39-35, and had a 19-9 advantage in the second period. But Clark was outstanding in net, shutting the door after GF went up 3-1, as B.V. found themselves shorthanded on five occasions, while enjoying just one power play.
“He (Clark) had a really good game, he kept us in it when he needed to, and so did Tallon (Kramer). It was a 5-5 game on Friday, and I think the chances in that game, the disparity in good quality chances, was clearly in Creston’s favour even when it was 4-0.”
The victory over Grand Forks was a good response to Friday’s match where B.V. blew a 4-0 second period lead, giving up five straight goals to trail the Thundercats 5-4 very late in the third period. But just before the lights went out, Sam Swanson scored with 11 seconds left on the clock to salvage a point for the Nitehawks.
“We had a 4-0 lead and then all of a sudden we started to do things the wrong way,” said Jones.
Fuller had two goals and two assists for the Hawks, Tyler Ghiradosi had a two-point night with a goal and a helper, and Nemes scored the other Hawks marker. B.V. outshot Creston 47-42 and were 0-for-5 on the power play, while Creston was 0-for-4.
The Hawks remain atop the Neil Murdoch division with 67 points, nine points up on the 28-13-2-0 Castlegar Rebels, who split their two games this weekend beating the Nelson Leafs, 5-3, and dropping a 5-3 match to the 35-5-0-0 Kimberley Dynamiters.
The Hawks have just seven games remaining in their season, and will face off against the league leading Dynamiters on Saturday at the Hawks Nest at 7:30 p.m.
“The most important thing for us is that we build on our game, and we continue to get better. It’s a long season, it’s a hard season, and we want to get everybody clicking and playing their best when we get to the playoffs.”