The two top teams in the Kootenay Conference get set to tangle at the Hawks Nest tonight, as the Beaver Valley Nitehawks face perhaps their toughest test of the New Year in the Creston Thunder Cats.
The Hawks are coming off a convincing but, according to assistant coach Kevin Limbert, an uninspiring effort in a 6-2 win over the Golden Rockets on Friday.
The Hawks had a mediocre game, despite the victory, taking the Eddie Mountain basement dwellers for granted and playing to their level, said Limbert.
The Hawks will need to pick up their game a notch against Creston who have won 10 games in a row, and now sit 14 points ahead of the Fernie Ghostriders for top spot in the Mountain division.
The Cats are coming off weekend wins over the Castlegar Rebels, 3-1, and Fernie, 7-4, and are led by 20-year-old forwards Jesse Collins, 19-55-74, and Brandon Formosa, 29-40-69, and Smoke Eater AP Colby Livingstone.
Sam Swanson scored his first of two goals on the night, netting the winning goal just over a minute into the second period to lead the Beaver Valley Nitehawks to a 6-2 victory over the Golden Rockets Friday at the B.V. Arena.
The goal put the Hawks up 3-0 after first-period tallies from Taylor Stafford and Jeremy Lucchini. Riley Brandt would extend it to 4-0 before the Rockets got on the board with a shorthanded marker from Ian Desrosier at 7:55 of the middle frame. Bowen Alcock cut the lead to two, but Brandt and Swanson would restore the four goal lead with third period goals.
Dan Holland returned to the Hawks line up and pitched in with two assists, while Andrew Clark added three helpers for the home team.
The Hawks play the Creston Valley Thunder Cats tonight at the Beaver Valley Arena at 7 p.m.
The Nelson Leafs also clinched a playoff spot with a 9-0 victory over the Rebels Friday before falling to the Grand Forks Border Bruins 5-2 Saturday. Trail native and Leafs’ forward Jamie Vlanich took over sole possession of top spot in the KIJHL scoring race, with a six-point night (three goals, three assists) against Castlegar and a goal and an assist versus the Bruins. The eight-point weekend gives the 20-year-old Vlanich 30 goals and 51 assists in 38 games this season.
Meanwhile the Spokane Braves went on the warpath this weekend winning all three games