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B.V. Nitehawks fall in four to Kimberley Dynamiters

Kimberley Dynamiters beat the B.V. Nitehawks 4-3 to capture Kootenay Conference title
The Kimberley Dynamiters won the Kootenay Conference final with a 4-3 victory over the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Wednesday in Fruitvale. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks fell to the Kimberley Dynamiters in four after a Wednesday night loss at the Hawks Nest.

Kimberley’s Cam Reid scored the game winner with 7:12 remaining in the third period for a 4-3 victory in Game 4 of the best-of-seven Kootenay Conference Final.

“I felt like we were really close,” said Nitehawks head coach Terry Jones. “Game 3 was a tough one.

“We had a great first period in both games, but our second periods weren’t good in both games and we lost the momentum and started chasing games. Once we started chasing, it’s tough, they have a very good hockey team.”

The win ends the season for the Nitehawks, after a strong and thrilling run that saw the third-seed win the Neil Murdoch Division title in a 3-2 Game 7 overtime victory over Creston, after dispatching the Nelson Leafs in six games in Round 1.

Beaver Valley jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Gavin Tritt and Tyson Tokarz just nine seconds apart midway through the first.

But Kimberley battled back in the second frame, tying the game and then taking a 3-2 lead on goals from Duncan Paradis, Christian Mealey, and Kasey Miller.

“They showed in the second period their age,” said Jones. “They are a lot older team than us, and in some ways there is that veteran hunger that seemed to kick in for them and they played with a lot of poise once they got the lead.”

Nitehawks forward Nathan Dominici tied it at three 4:59 into the third period on a set up from Joel Smyth. Beaver Valley pressured in the third outshooting Kimberley 15-8, but Dynamiters’ goalie Trystan Self shut the door, and Reid’s goal held up as the game winner.

“They got a late goal on us, but I thought our guys responded pretty well to it, trying to get back in the game, but at the end of it, they won a lot more battles than us,” said Jones. “They played a more complete game than we did, so full marks for the win.”

Kimberley outshot the Nitehawks 42-35 and were 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Nitehawks went 0-for-2.

Kimberley caught fire after being down 3-0 against Fernie and battled back to win the series in seven. They then extended their win streak to eight straight with a sweep of B.V., and will ride that momentum heading to the KIJHL final.

“Momentum is always important, and we just couldn’t keep the momentum going our way for a long enough period of time,” added Jones. “That’s been the story of our consistency throughout the season, we just haven’t been able to maintain it for 60 minutes.”

The Nitehawks top playoff scorers were Nathan Dominici with nine goals and 18 points, defenceman Kaleb Percival with five goals and 18 points, and 17-year-old Ollie Clement pitched in with six goals and 17 points despite missing the last two games due to suspension.

Goalie Connor Stojan was nothing short of spectacular and the Hawks playoff MVP going 8-5 with a 2.65 goals against and a .928 save percentage.

Jones says it is still too early to tell what the team will look like next year with some of their top players likely continuing on to the next level for the 2023-24 season.

“The development of some of our guys was really important,” said Jones. “Guys like (Brody) Martini and Clement really had great playoffs, and are our two youngest guys. And we had some great plays from Percival, great play from Stojan. The guys never quit, and I think that’s a staple of a really good hockey team.”

In the end, the KIJHL is a development league, and despite coming up short of the ultimate goal, Jones says progress as an individual and as a team is always positive.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and this is a really good group of young human beings, and I’m really proud of their efforts and really proud of who we are as people,” added Jones. “They have been a lot of fun to hang around with.

“The losing part takes me a little bit longer to get over that, but I am happy that we made another step with this group and that is always great.”

The Dynamiters will play for the Teck Cup against the winners of the Okanagan Conference. Currently, the Princeton Posse and Revelstoke Grizzlies series is tied at 2-2 after a 2-1 Princeton victory on Wednesday.

Read: Nitehawks fall to Dynamiters, down but not out

Jim Bailey

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