The race for the Neil Murdoch Division title is coming down to the wire.
Only four points separate the first place Grand Forks Border Bruins and the third place Beaver Valley Nitehawks with three games remaining for B.V. against their three division rivals in the final week of the regular season.
A 3-2 loss to the Golden Rockets Friday and a 4-2 setback to the Columbia Valley Rockies Saturday, combined with a pair of Nelson wins and a split for Grand Forks, did not help the Nitehawks cause as they fell from second to third place in the Murdoch division.
The Nitehawks were tied 2-2 with Columbia Valley at the end of 40 minutes on goals from Tyson Tokarz shorthanded and Beau Manegre on the power play, but the Rockies Kayde Kinaschuk scored his second of the night and 28th of the season 7:07 into the final frame for what proved to be the game winning goal.
Jamieson Franz added an insurance marker on the power play with five minutes remaining for the 4-2 final.
Kinaschuk finished the game with two goals and four points on the night.
The Rockies outshot the Nitehawks 49-32 and went 3-for-8 on the power play, while B.V. was 1-for-5.
In Friday’s match, Golden’s Dominic Fiorentino scored with nine seconds left in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie and launch the Rockets to victory.
Ethan Smyth opened the scoring at 17:25 of the first period, but power play goals from Nick Morin and Jordan Lario made it 2-1 Rockets after two periods.
B.V. forward Joel Smyth tallied his eighth of the season to tie it with 8:22 to play. The Nitehawks dominated the third but couldn’t beat Golden goalie Levi Hall who earned the game star along with B.V. goalie Connor Stojan.
The Nitehawks outshot the Rockets 36-30, and were 0-for-2 on the power play, and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Nitehawks have lost three straight heading into the final week of play, but are a respectable 6-3-1-0 in their last 10 games.
The Castlegar Rebels have helped out the Leafs of late beating both the Nitehawks 2-0 on Tuesday and the Border Bruins, 5-3, on Friday night, before falling to the Nelson Leafs 4-1 on Saturday.
The 22-16-2-1 Nitehawks trail the 22-15-4-1 Leafs by two points, but have a game in hand. Grand Forks leads the way with 51 points, two points ahead of Nelson and four up on B.V., and with three games left to play.
The fourth place Rebels are out of playoff contention, as the Creston Valley Thundercats of the Eddie Mountain division have a better record and will crossover to play the top seed in the Murdoch Division come playoff time.
If Beaver Valley has a chance to capture the division title they will need to win out starting with the Border Bruins at home on Tuesday night.
The Nitehawks will face off against the Rebels in Castlegar on Friday, and the Leafs at the Nest on Saturday. The puck drop is at 7 p.m.