The Beaver Valley Nitehawks will look to extend their current two-game winning streak as they get set to play three important matches this weekend.
The Hawks face the Grand Forks Border Bruins tonight in Grand Forks, and return to the Beaver Valley Arena for games against the Chase Heat Saturday night and the Spokane Braves on Sunday.
The matches are as critical as they come this early in the season for a team that has struggled with offence.
The Hawks need to score more goals if they hope to move up the Neil Murdoch division standings, where they are currently tied with Castlegar and Grand Forks in third place with six points.
The Nelson Leafs lead the division with a 4-1-1-1 record good for 10-points, one point up on Spokane at 4-3-0-1.
Beaver Valley had its biggest goal output of the year in its first victory, a 4-1 win over Golden Rockets last week, and followed that with a 2-1 win over Columbia Valley, Saturday.
B.V. is led by 18-year-old forward Mitch Foyle who has a respectable one goal and six assists in seven games, however, after Foyle, the lack of scoring up-and-down the line up is perplexing.
Ross Armour, Tyler Hartman, and Jace Weeger, lead the team in goals with two apiece in seven games, while veterans Taylor Stafford, Sam Swanson, and Jacob Boycuk have combined for three goals and one assist over that time.
Yet, the inability to put points on the scoreboard is not due to a lack of skill or effort.
The Nitehawks’ forwards skate circles around opponents, putting on passing clinics that would impress the Sedins; but whether they get robbed by good goaltending, bad luck, or just nerves, they seem to find creative ways to miss the back of the net.
The Nitehawks have outshot opponents in six of seven games this season, averaging 36 shots on goal per game, but scoring just 16 times on 253 chances – almost half as many goals as Nelson.
Tonight’s match is the first time the Hawks have faced the Bruins this season, a team that is led by Max Newton who is tied for second in league scoring with 4-9-13.
Chase comes to the Nest with a 2-2-1-1 record, and sit in fifth spot in the Doug Birks division. Like last year, Chase is a good, but beatable team.
Spokane is enjoying one of its best starts in recent years, and coming off an 8-0 rout of Grand Forks on Sunday. Their promising start, however, is somewhat misleading as three of their four wins this season have come against the Border Bruins, and their only other win was a 2-1 victory over B.V. in their first meeting Sept. 20.
Three wins this weekend will put the Hawks in a more familiar position in the Neil Murdoch division standings, and instill some much needed confidence.
The Hawks play Chase at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and face off against Spokane at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Beaver Valley Arena.