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The Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ and Nelson Leafs’ snipers found their range and scored at will on the power play, as the Hawks regained advantage of the Neil Murdoch series with a 7-6 win.
Ryan Edwards scored the winning goal with 3:33 remaining when Dallas Calvin sprung him on a breakaway. The 19-year-old Trail native made no mistake scoring his first goal of the night to go with five assists for a six-point game, while Calvin pitched in with a hat trick and a five-point night.
The power play was firing on all cylinders for both teams in the first period. The Nitehawks started the scoring after the Leafs Bryce Neilson took a tripping penalty. Hawks captain Archie McKinnon stayed down low and banged in his own rebound short side on Nelson starter Brett Soles to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
But Nelson came right back, cashing in on their own power play when Colton Schell beat Jarrod Schamerhorn glove side on a nice centering pass from Aaron Dunlap. Beaver Valley had the best chances but could not get a bounce to go their way, and Nelson would capitalize on another Hawk penalty. Seth Schmidt floated a shot in from the point that went in over the shoulder of a screened Schamerhorn to take a 2-1 lead into the second period.
The Hawks came out dominant to start the middle frame, but Soles made an acrobatic glove save on Calvin two minutes in, and absolutely robbed Dan Holland, who blasted a rebound at a wide open net, but Soles dove across to foil the Hawk forward. It looked as though B.V. tied it when a point shot snuck through his arm, and Connor Brown-Maloski put in the rebound, but the referee called McKinnon for goalie interference, waving off what would have been the tying marker.
Nelson would score its third straight power play goal when Robson Cramer took a centering pass and went top corner on the Hawk goalie to put up the Leafs up 3-1.
But Beaver Valley would not buckle, scoring three times in the final six minutes of the second to take a 4-3 lead into the third. Dallas Calvin started the comeback for the Hawks when he walked out from behind the net and fired a wrist shot over the glove of the former Midget Ice goaltender.
After Nelson was penalized, the Nitehawks worked the puck around and Bell passed to Dan Vlanich at the point, Vlanich made a brilliant spinorama to keep the puck in and elude the Nelson forward, then sent it over to Arie Postmus who rifled a screen shot to tie the game 3-3.
The Hawks would take the lead on another power play, this time Dan Holland worked the puck to Calvin on the point who strode in and snapped it past a screened Soles to go up 4-3.
Nelson battled back in the third tying the game on a nice goal from Nielson, who waited for Schamerhorn to make a move then lifted it top shelf to tie the game at four. The Hawks would counter with another Calvin marker, but Carson Willans made it 5-5 on a deflection on yet another power play midway through the final frame.
However, a call on Dallon Stoddard for hauling down Jordan Magico opened the door for the Hawks as Archie McKinnon batted in what looked to be the winner with just under four minutes to play in the third to break a 5-5 tie. Edwards made it 7-5, 20 seconds later, but Nelson would pull their goalie and cut the lead to one with just 29 seconds left in regulation, however could not find the equalizer this time.
McKinnon had a three point night and was particularly effective on the power play, his six-foot-four frame wreaking havoc in front of the net.
Nelson went 4-for-6 on the PP while the Hawks were 3-for-6 on the night. The Leafs fired 31 shots at the Hawks net while Beaver Valley directed 39 at Soles.
Game 6 goes tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Nelson and District Civic Centre.