Injuries continue to plague the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, as they get set to host the Grand Forks Border Bruins in a rare Thursday night tilt at the B.V. Arena.
To cap off a Nitehawks season riddled with injury and illness, coach Terry Jones found out this week that B.V. has lost the services of top defenceman Karsten Jang for the rest of the season.
“He requires surgery and the doctor advised him to not play,” said Jones. “It’s a devastating loss to our team, and it’s hard on Karsten, because he’s a competitive guy and obviously he would love to be playing.”
The Hawks have faced adversity all year, and just when they think they’re getting healthy, another injury forces coaches and players to prepare and play with a short bench.
“It’s been a very unusual year, just in practice alone, we’ve had to run different practices this year because our number has been so low, whether it’s injury or sickness. We’ve been legitimately down three or four guys most of the year, and ask any coach, they’re use to run practices with 18 or 20 skaters, but when you’re down to 14 or 15 skaters, your drills have to change, and how you run practices changes.”
In their last matchup on Jan. 26, B.V. suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to a Border Bruins team that is fighting for a final playoff spot with the Spokane Braves.
“The last two games in Grand Forks have been tough matches, and over the last several years, they have played us really tough,” said Jones. “For whatever reason, it’s never an easy game and we felt Friday night we only played about 15 minutes of hockey, and we were lucky to get a point.”
The Hawks came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game and take the lead in the third before a late goal tied it and forced the extra frame on Friday.
Trey Mason had a four-point night for the Border Bruins and carries much of the offensive load, leading the team with 20 goals and 55 points good for sixth place in the KIJHL, while Logan Hascarl is their top defender with 17 points in 40 games, and Quinn Yeager and Ross King split duties in the crease.
In addition to Jang, the Nitehawks will also be without defenceman Jake Yuris and goalie Owen Sikkes for tonight’s game, and forward Jaxen Gemmell is day-to-day having only played two games since Dec. 31
“It’s been a challenge for us, but at the same time, as devastating as it is to lose Karsten, we have been dealing with this all year long, so we just have to find a way.”
The Nitehawks drop the puck against the Border Bruins tonight at 7 p.m. at the Hawks Nest.