The Beaver Valley Nitehawks earned a split with the Nelson Leafs in the opening two games of the Neil Murdoch Divison final on the weekend.
After winning Game 7 against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats 3-2 on Thursday at the Hawks Nest, B.V. began its quest for the Divsion title the next night, Friday, Mar. 4, in Nelson.
The Leafs defeated the Nitehawks 5-3 in Game 1, but B.V. bounced back for a 5-3 victory on Saturday to even the series at 1-1.
Following a scoreless first period, Nelson jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Johnny Carmichael and Rhett Hamilton four minutes into the middle frame.
B.V. stormed back with a power play goal from Brennan Wilson at 10:10, followed by a Hunter Burgeson tally 38 seconds later to tie it at two.
Rossland native Ethan Jang put B.V. up for good, scoring on a Jesse Ihas setup with 5:52 to play in the middle frame.
Wilson added his second of the night and what proved to be the game winning goal on a feed from Hayden Stocks 2:12 into the third for a 4-2 Hawks lead.
B.V. played solid defensively, allowing few chances, while frustrating the Leafs forwards and holding them to just five shots on goal in the final frame.
Bennett Anklewhich cut the lead to one with 42 seconds remaining, but Hawks forward Austin McKenzie iced it with a empty net goal with four seconds left on the clock.
Beaver Valley outshot Nelson 26-22, went 2-for-8 on the power play and a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.
In Game 1, Nelson enjoyed an extra day rest after dispatching the persistent Castlegar Rebels 3-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday, Mar. 2.
The Leafs built a 2-0 first period lead on goals from Liam Noble and Anklewich, and added two more in the second from Carmichael and Simon Nemethy, while B.V. replied with tallies from Nathan Dominici and Burgeson for a 4-2 score following the middle frame.
The teams traded goals with Hamilton scoring for the Leafs and Ihas for the Hawks, as tempers flared in a penalty-filled final frame in the 5-3 final.
Nelson outshot Beaver Valley 36-35, and were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Hawks went 0-for-7.
Game 3 will go Monday night at the Hawks Nest in Beaver Valley with the puck drop at 7 p.m., and Game 4 at the same time and place on Tuesday.