Beaver Valley coasts to Game 1 victory

Game 1 of the KIJHL Kootenay Conference final went Friday and it was a win for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

Game 1 of the KIJHL Kootenay Conference final went Friday and while it wasn’t the thriller fans have become accustomed to, it was a win for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

The Nitehawks beat the  Ghostriders 5-2 in a game that lacked intensity from the outset.

“I thought both teams came out pretty sluggish,” said Hawks assistant coach Kris Boyce. “We started playing better in the third period but the game was already in our hands by that time.”

The Hawks’ Craig Martin netted the winning goal on a 5 on 3 at 18:38 of the second period, rifling a wrist shot past Fernie goalie Chris Solecki to make it 3-0. Chris Derochie and Ryan Edwards both picked up assists.

The two teams are coming off long and intense, but immensely exciting Game 7 wins over division rivals Castlegar and Kimberley, so can be forgiven if a little fatigue crept in.

“You could tell some of our key players looked a little tired out there so hopefully they can get their energy back up for the upcoming games,” said Boyce.

Beaver Valley jumped out to an early first-period lead when Derochie jumped on a Martin rebound and put it by the Fernie goalie.

The Hawks went up 2-0 on a 5 on 3 power play after Mason Spear won the faceoff in the Fernie end and Arie Postmus one-timed a slap shot past the Ghostrider netminder with 10:18 remaining in the period.

The Derochie, Martin and Edwards trio would strike again at the 5:31 mark on a nice passing play started by Derochie. With the puck behind the Fernie net, he passed to Edwards who fed an open Martin in front  and the Neil Murdoch Division MVP lifted it upstairs to go up 4-0.

Spear put the Hawks up 5-0 on a shorthanded goal, with a great individual effort.

Despite lacklustre play, Boyce and the coaching staff aren’t worried.

“Our guys know what’s at stake, and I think they’ll come through in the end.”

Zach Perehudoff got the start in net for the Hawks and was solid throughout, especially in the second period when he turned aside 13 of 14 shots.

The Ghostriders would score late in the second and early in the third but that was all as the Hawks shut them down in the late going.

Fernie outshot the Hawks 34-33 on the night.

The teams collided again Sunday night but scores were unavailable at press time. They face off next in Fernie on Tuesday.

In other KIJHL action the Kelowna Cheifs beat the Sicamous Eagles 7-4 in the Kamloops/Shuswap Conference final.