The Beaver Valley Nitehawks will face the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and Grand Forks Border Bruins this weekend in KIJHL action.
The third-place Hawks have a golden opportunity to make up ground on Neil Murdoch division leading Castlegar Rebels and the second-place Nelson Leafs, as the Leafs and Rebels face off against each other in a home-and-home.
The Nitehawks split a pair of games last weekend including a 4-1 win over the Leafs, while the Rebels were on a roll taking three straight, including two from Grand Forks and a 5-3 win over Spokane Tuesday. The wins put them five points up on B.V., with the Hawks enjoying two games in hand.
“It’s been a bit of an ebb and flow, more than we’ve seen lately but it’s tight and I don’t think there are too many years where approaching half way through the season some teams to be where they are,” said Nitehawk assistant coach Kevin Limbert.
The Hawks have been without Jace Weeger and Kyle Hope up front, but the two forwards are day-to-day and expected to return to the lineup soon.
“Kyle brings a ton of energy and has been playing really well as of late, and so has Jace who brings a scoring touch that we definitely missed on Friday,” said Limbert. “Both guys are big pieces of our lineup but at the same time when those guys are out, you have to have the rest of the guys pick up the slack.”
After a good start, Creston has lost three of its last four games, dropping to fourth spot in the Eddie Murdoch division with a 11-10-0-3 record, 10 points behind front-running Fernie. B.V. won their first meeting of the season, 2-1, at the Hawks Nest on Oct. 25 and will look to take advantage of the slumping Cats tonight in Creston.
The Border Bruins at 7-15-0-3 hold down last spot in the Neil Murdoch division, but are no push overs. The Bruins dropped a pair of 4-3 OT games against Castlegar and Nelson on the weekend, have had a combination of tough luck and bad bounces. The Bruins lost their best player Max Newton to the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL but have found ways to stay competitive.
The Hawks may not be in must-win territory yet, but the win over Nelson should give them a boost, and a pair of wins this weekend will keep them in contention, while giving B.V. a cushion over Spokane who are idle this weekend and currently sit two points back.
“You’re going to have setbacks, you’re going to have plateaus, and falters that’s just how a season progresses over 52 games, but as long as our overall trend is moving toward our end goal we’re happy. We’ve come a long way since day 1 so we’re happy with where we’re going.”
Beaver Valley host the Border Bruins Saturday at 7:30 p.m.