The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are back in action this week with three pivotal games in four days. The Hawks battle the Spokane Braves in Spokane tonight, then return home to face the Columbia Valley Rockies on Saturday, and the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Monday.
B.V. played arguably their best game of the season on Saturday in a 7-2 win against the Castlegar Rebels. Led by Taylor Stafford’s four-point game and some solid goaltending from Drake Poiriot, the Hawks look primed for a good run.
Tonight’s match against the Braves will be an important tilt for second place in the Neil Murdoch division standings. Spokane jumped ahead of the Hawks after sweeping three games last weekend that included a 4-3 victory over the division-leading Nelson Leafs in Spokane on Sunday and have won seven of their last eight.
The Hawks beat the Braves in their last meeting 6-4 at the Nest, but lost in Spokane 2-1 on Sept. 20. Historically, playing the Braves in Spokane is always an adventure and the Hawks will have to stay disciplined and build off their performance against the Castlegar Rebels last weekend to be successful.
The Columbia Valley Rockies are mired in last spot in the Eddie Murdoch division but they are not pushovers as it took a third-period goal by the Nelson Leafs to break a 3-3 tie late in the third and eke out a 4-3 win on Saturday.
While the Hawks have two games in hand, they need to pick up points against the cellar-dwelling Rockies and Bruins to keep pace with the Leafs and Braves.
The 6-12-1 Bruins, meanwhile, ended a seven game winless streak with a 5-4 overtime victory over the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Saturday.
The Border Bruins started the season strong, but have cooled of late, yet they always prove a challenge to the Nitehawks and have the second top-scorer in the league in Max Newton, 15-16-31.The Bruins defeated the Hawks 6-5 in overtime in their last encounter in Grand Forks on Oct. 3.