The Beaver Valley Nitehawks fell to the Nelson Leafs in a New Year’s Eve tilt at the Nelson Community Complex on Sunday.
In a defensive battle, it was only fitting that a defenceman score the winning goal as Leafs’ blueliner Ethan Land netted the first goal of the game at 14:29 of the third period to lead Nelson to a 2-0 shutout victory over B.V.
The goal, Land’s third of the season and first since Oct. 21, was set up by Sawyer Hunt who made a slick pass to the Edmonton native, and Land wired a slap-shot past Hawks goalie Liam Coulter for a 1-0 lead.
“It’s been a while since I scored,” the relieved-looking defenceman told the Nelson Star after the game. “Just felt good to finally put one in the net.”
The war of attrition saw the Leafs outshoot the Hawks 13-10 through two periods and the game remain scoreless, but not for lack of entertainment or stellar defensive plays.
Coulter, the Hawks rookie goalie, made several big stops to keep B.V. in it including a breakaway save on Hunt early in the first period, and a huge blocker save off Logan Wullum in the dying seconds of the middle frame.
The Hawks generated few opportunities and Nelson goalie Josh Williams was solid in the shut-out win. Nelson outshot B.V. 20-16 with neither team scoring on three power-play opportunities for the Hawks and four for the Leafs. Coulter and Williams earned the Game Stars.
Beaver Valley also hosted Nelson on Friday at the Hawks Nest but a power outage postponed the game 15-minutes into the first period with the Leafs leading 1-0, and will be rescheduled.
Beaver Valley’s Nolan Percival led the team to a 5-2 victory over the Spokane Braves Thursday. The Hawks forward was named the Game Star, scoring twice including the winner as the Hawks jumped out to a 4-1 first period lead and never looked back.
The Hawks’ Damon Kramer had a goal and two assists, with d-men Evan Gorman and Angus Amadio kicking in for the other B.V. markers, and Dylan Kent adding three assists.
Beaver Valley will look to make up ground against the Neil Murdoch Division leading Castlegar Rebels, 26-7-0-1, and the second place 23-6-1-2 Leafs this month, beginning with Nelson on Friday at the B.V. Arena at 7:30 p.m., followed by a tilt against the Castlegar Rebels on Saturday in Castlegar at 7 p.m. The Nitehawks will then host the Rebels on Tuesday with the puck drop at 7 p.m.
Hawks Notes:The Nitehawks also received some much needed help on the blue line with the addition of former Smoke Eater Jake Yuris. The 19-year-old Trail native is a steady and reliable presence on the backend and bolsters a Nitehawk blueline that has struggled mightily with injury this season. Yuris played two seasons, 2015-17, for the Hawks scoring 10 goals and 35 points in 87 games, while wracking up 51 penalty minutes.