The Neil Murdoch Division is heating up as the teams jockey for position at the midway point of the season.
The Castlegar Rebels made a statement this weekend with a victory over the division-leading Nelson Leafs, while the Beaver Valley Nitehawks faltered. B.V. fell to the Castlegar Rebels 2-1 on Friday, then skated to a 2-2 tie with the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Saturday.
The Rebels were on fire all weekend and went into Nelson and defeated the Leafs 5-1 on Saturday, then put a big exclamation point on the weekend with a 10-0 blowout of the Golden Rockets.
For the Nitehawks, injuries and a rough November road schedule have also slowed the team after going undefeated through October.
On Saturday, Grand Forks forward Briar Whyte gave the Border Bruins a 1-0 first-period lead, but the Hawks struck back in a very physical second period that saw the Hawks Austin Miller and the Bruins Alex Skinner go toe-to-toe.
Castlegar native Aiden Jenner scored on the power play 3:21 in, and Dylan Kent put B.V. up 2-1 on another extra-man advantage with 8:20 remaining as the Hawks outshot the Bruins 13-9 in the middle frame.
However, the Bruins replied late in the third, when Trey Mason tallied his 10th of the season on the power play with 4:28 left to force overtime.
Beaver Valley owned the two extra five-minute frames firing 14 shots at Grand Forks goalie Quinn Yeager, but the recent addition from the Nelson Leafs was unbeatable.
The Hawks outshot the Bruins 50-30, going 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1-for-5. Yeager earned Game Star for the home team, while his counterpart Liam Coulter got the nod for the Nitehawks.
In Friday’s match up, Chase Daniels broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period on an unassisted effort to score the winner for the Castlegar Rebels.
The weekend wins for Castlegar (16-7-0-1) launched the team past the Nitehawks and into sole possession of second place in the Murdoch division.
Hawks defenceman Karsten Jang wired a shot past Rebels goalie Tanner Douglas for a 1-0 lead midway through the second period. But Castlegar replied less than a minute later on a Brandon Costa power play goal, and Daniels iced it in the third.
Castlegar outshot B.V. 33-19, with goalies Douglas and Owen Sikkes taking the Game-Star honours for the Rebels and Hawks respectively.
The loss for the 14-8-1-1 Nitehawks drops the team to third place and 10 points back of Nelson as they get ready for a return visit to Castlegar on Wednesday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Rebels.
The Hawks next home game goes on Dec. 8 versus the Nelson Leafs.