The Beaver Valley Nitehawks won their ninth in a row Sunday at the Hawks Nest with a 7-4 victory over the Castlegar Rebels, as they head into the final month of the KIJHL regular season match ups.
B.V.’s most recent acquisition, goaltender Owen Sikkes, picked up his first win as a Hawk since coming over from the Golden Rockets at the Jan. 10 deadline. Sikkes stopped 28 shots for the victory in his second appearance for the Nitehawks, while McKoy Hauk had a four-assist night, and Tyler Hartman pitched in with two goals and an assist.
Nitehawks captain Sam Swanson scored the winning goal while shorthanded at 15:30 of the third period on a setup from Kevan McBean and Hauk to give B.V. a 5-3 lead in what was a close checking, back-and-forth matchup typical of a Nitehawks-Rebels game.
Castlegar held the edge in play through two periods outshooting B.V. 23-16, but trailed the Hawks 4-2 heading into the final frame.
Bradley Ross scored his 13th of the season after playing in the KIJHL Prospects game with teammates Aiden Browell and Tyler Ghiradosi on Saturday in Kelowna. The Trail native fired a Damon Kramer pass by goalie Chandler Billinghurst at 14:14 for a 1-0 Nitehawks lead. However, the Rebels’ John Moeller answered on a Shawn Campbell setup, but the Hawks leading scorer, Hartman, put B.V. back out front less than two minutes later. Castlegar’s Vince Bitonti tallied his seventh of the season beating Sikkes at 2:57 of the opening frame to tie the game 2-2 heading into the second period.
The second period saw Evan Gorman get the gate for fighting and a game misconduct that left the Hawks shorthanded. A lengthy penalty kill resulted in Karsten Jang taking a pass from Browell and blasting a shot by Billingshurst for a 3-2 Hawks lead at 11:02. Another defenceman, this time Dylan Kent doubled the score with his sixth of the campaign to give B.V. a 4-2 lead heading into the third period.
The Rebels outshot B.V. 10-7 in the period, but solid goaltending from Sikkes, especially while short, kept B.V. on top.
A power-play marker by Rebels forward Daniel Petten 90 seconds into the period, brought Castlegar within one, but Swanson’s goal restored the two-goal lead, and a tally by Nolan Percival gave the Hawks some insurance. The teams traded goals in the final 10 minutes with Ed Lindsey scoring for Castlegar and Hartman adding his 16th goal and 45th point of the season for the Hawks.
Castlegar outshot Beaver Valley 32-30 with Jang getting player of the game honours for B.V. and Bitonti for the Rebels.
B.V. also came back from a 4-0 first-period deficit against Grand Forks on Friday for a 6-4 victory and followed that up on Saturday with a 5-2 win over the Fernie Ghostriders in Fernie on Saturday.
With nine games remaining in the regular season, the 31-4-1-2 Nitehawks have clinched the Neil Murdoch Division title with 65 points, and are looking to do the same in the KIJHL, as they hold a seven-point cushion over the 28-7-0-1 Osoyoos Coyotes.
The Nitehawks next home game goes on Saturday versus the Columbia Valley Rockies.