The Beaver Valley Nitehawks earned just two points in a three-game weekend against Murdoch Division rivals.
A goal by Spokane Braves forward Jed Butler with 19 seconds remaining in the third period lifted the Braves to a 3-2 victory over the Nitehawks on Sunday in Spokane, while on Saturday night at the Hawks Nest, a back and forth match up saw the Nelson Leafs come out on the right end of a 7-4 win over B.V.
In the Hawks only victory, Bradley Ross netted a hat trick including the overtime game winner in a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Castlegar Rebels at home on Friday.
Beaver Valley has second place locked up in the Murdoch division and will likely face the Braves in the first round of the playoffs. Spokane has won two straight against B.V. after the Hawks went 3-and-0 in their first three match ups. The Grand Forks Border Bruins hold down fourth spot, five points back of the Rebels with four games remaining.
The Hawks have five games left in the regular season, with two matches against the Rebels, one versus Columbia Valley and Creston and their final game versus the Braves.
In Sunday’s match, Butler opened the scoring 44 seconds into the game to get the Braves out to a fast start. Hawks forward Simon Nemethy evened the score at the 7:21 mark converting a setup from Ross and Nick Corrado, but the Braves retook the lead 76 seconds later on a Alex Enegren tally from Bear Hughes.
B.V. tied it at two with Michael Hagen finishing a setup from Ryan Crisalli with 2:35 to play in the middle frame as the Hawks outshot the Braves 15-6 in the period but could only beat Campbell Arnold once.
The Braves pressured the Hawks in the third, looking for a win in front of their home crowd. Hawks goalie Kevin Engman was stellar stopping 13 shots until Butler decided it with his second of the game in the last 19 seconds.
Engman stopped 33 shots in the loss, while Arnold blocked 30 Nitehawks attempts for the win. B.V. went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Spokane was 0-for-5.
Against the Leafs, B.V. jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals from Nathan Ingram and Quaid Anderson, but Nelson scored four straight to take a 4-2 lead midway through the third. The Hawks battled back and goals from Kevin Duguid and Corrado tied the game at 8:29. However, Nelson Every Neilson beat Noah Decottignies at 5:48 and the Leafs added two more power-play goals in the final minutes for a 7-4 victory.
In Friday’s win over the Rebels, Ross completed his hat trick by scoring with two seconds left in the second overtime to lift the Hawks to victory.
B.V. battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie it 3-3 on third period goals from Kody Stewart and Ross to force OT. The back-and-forth match up had to go to the second 3-on-3 overtime before Ross ended it with his 21st goal of the season.
The Nitehawks outshot Castlegar 39-37 with Engman, a Trail native, earning his first win in goal as a Nitehawk. B.V. went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Beaver Valley plays the Rebels in Castlegar on Tuesday at 7 p.m., then return home to face Columbia Valley Rockies on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.