Kimberley Dynamiters forward Tristan Weill scored the game winner 13:24 into the second period on the way to a 4-1 victory over the Beaver Valley Nitehawks at the Hawks Nest on Tuesday.
Cash Regan’s forecheck forced the puck from the Nitehawks defenceman, and it bounced to Weill at the side of the net who beat Hawks goalie Connor Stojan for a 2-1 lead.
The Nitehawks came back from a 3 games to 1 deficit against the Creston Valley Thundercats in the Murdoch Division final, now they just have to do one better after finding themselves down 3-0 against the Kimberley Dynamiters in the Kootenay Conference final.
As assistant captain Kaleb Percival said after the Nitehawks Game 7 win, “You just gotta believe.”
Beaver Valley opened the scoring when Kaleb Percival fired a point shot through a maze of players for a 1-0 lead at 10:10 of the first period.
The Nitehawks looked as though they were heading into the second period with the lead, but a turnover and shot from the high slot beat a surprised Stojan over the blocker with one second left on the clock.
The game heated up in the second period, as players were taking one shot after another at each other.
Kimberley is not an easy team to play against. They are big, physical, defensively sound, chippy, and play with intensity.
The infractions went back and forth, with no flow to the game, or ability to make plays, and the refs did not let anything go. In all, 16 minor penalties were handed out in the middle frame, nine to B.V. and seven to Kimberley.
Kimberley outshot Beaver Valley 18-9 in the period, and took a 2-1 lead into the third.
But B.V. couldn’t beat Kimberley goalie Matt Fleet despite several chances early in the third.
The Dynamiters then went up 3-1, when Isaac Sommer intercepted a pass in front and wired a shot over the glove of Stojan.
The Nitehawks pulled their goalie in the final two minutes, but the could not find the equalizer. Kimberley’s Ethan Bloomquist scored into the empty net with 11 seconds left in regulation for the 4-1 final.
Kimberley outshot Beaver Valley 43-33, and each team went 0-for-9 on the power play.
The Dynamiters won their opening two games at home by scores of 4-2 and 5-1. Kimberley trailed Fernie 3-0 in the Eddie Mountain Div. final, but won four straight to advance to the conference final against B.V.
The Hawks will have to win their first one without their top scorer Ollie Clement. Following a review by the Department of Player Safety, the league assessed Clement a three-game suspension for a hit from behind in Game 2. The Rossland product cannot return to the line up until Game 6 on March 25.
The Nitehawks play the Dynamiters in Game 4 on Wednesday night at the Hawks Nest, with the puck drop at 7 p.m.
Game 5 goes in Kimberley on Friday, and Game 6 on Saturday at the Hawks Nest.