The Beaver Valley Nitehawks started the Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament on a winning note with a 4-1 win over the Aldergrove Kodiaks, while host Nelson Leafs dropped their opening match to Victoria Cougars 6-1 on Thursday at the Nelson Community Complex.
Riley Brandt scored two goals in the first period including the winner at 13:07 to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead, while Brett Clark stopped 30 shots in goal for the Hawks.
Brandt netted his first 12 seconds into the game finishing a pretty pass from Dan Holland to get the Hawks off to a great start. Then after the Kodiaks’ Jeremy Lagler got called for slashing, Brandt would fire a Dallas Calvin pass by Aldergrove goalie Jordan Liem to go up two.
The Nitehawks dominated in the first period outshooting the Kodiaks 14-8, but the Lower Mainland team would have a better period in the second. Dallas Calvin would put the Hawks up 3-0, with a pretty toe-drag between his legs to beat the defenceman, then a quick deke on Liem to complete the highlight reel goal.
Aldergrove’s Adam Callegari however would cut the lead to two on the power play, as he banged the puck between Clark’s pads to make it 3-1 at 7:37 of the second.
The Kodiaks fired 15 shots at Clark in the period, but the Grande Prairie native made several key saves, including back-to-back sprawling stops on a goal-mouth scramble to preserve the two-goal lead.
The Nitehawks would play efficient, defensive hockey in the third with Dan Holland scoring into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Leafs meanwhile opened the tournament with a heart-felt tribute to Nolan Handley, an affiliate player who died tragically earlier this week in a car accident.
The Cougars scored five times in the second period to pace themselves to the 6-1 win over the host Leafs, outshooting Nelson 27-19.
The Hawks and Leafs play tonight at 7:30 p.m. while the Kodiaks and Cougars tangle at 3:30 p.m. at the Nelson Community Complex.