Beaver Valley Nitehawks forwards jumpstarted the Kootenay attack at the KIJHL Prospects Game, as the Kootenay Conference team skated to a 7-3 victory over the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference at the Rutland Arena in Kelowna.
Kelowna was a popular destination for Junior and college scouts as not only did the best U18 players from the KIJHL go head-to-head in the Prospects Game, but BC Hockey hosted its BC Major Midget League Showdown with all 11 teams playing two games over three days, including the Major Midget Kootenay Ice who played two exhibition matches against the Everett Jr. Silvertips. The Ice beat the ‘Tips 3-2 on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday.
In the Prospects Game, Hawks forward and Trail native Bradley Ross opened the scoring, finishing a nice setup from another Trail product, Ryan Piva, midway through the first period, and Beaver Valley’s Aiden Jenner put Kootenay up 2-0 less than three minutes later.
The teams erupted for six goals in the second period with Piva, who plays for the Nelson Leafs, giving Kootenay a 3-0 lead at 15:46 before the Okanagan-Shuswap replied and Osoyoos Coyotes forward Brandon Onstein sniped an unassisted goal at 13:38.
Kootenay’s Rilee Poffenroth restored the three-goal cushion at 11:43, only to have Kamloops Storm’s Reid Perepeluk make it 4-2 18 seconds later. Perepeluk brought the Ok-Shuswap to within one at 6:37, but Brock Palmer of the Kimberley Dynamiters made it 5-3 with 93 seconds remaining in the period.
Goals from Palmer and former BCMML Kootenay Ice forward Johnny Elias rounded out the scoring in the third for the 7-3 final. Okanagan-Shuswap outshot Kootenay 46-27 but Spokane Braves’ goalie Ben Waslaski and Creston Valley Thundercat’s Levi Mitchell split duties and earned the win.
Nitehawks’ Tommy McConnachie and Connor Seib also played for Kootenay, as did Rossland native Ethan Jang who plays for the Fernie Ghostriders.
In KIJHL action last week, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks won their third in a row, defeating the Grand Forks Border Bruins 5-3 in Grand Forks on Thursday.
Aidan Browell netted the winner, scoring at 15:14 of the third period to break a 3-3 tie, while Dylan Heppler and Kevan McBean each tallied once and added an assist for B.V.’s 20th win.
Damon Kramer, McBean, and Ross were the other B.V. goal scorers, while Trey Mason, Poffenroth, and Rylan Smaha-Muir replied for the Border Bruins.
The Hawks get set for a big weekend, with three games in three days. B.V. plays in Nelson on Friday night against the Leafs, then return to the Hawks Nest on Saturday for a tilt against the Spokane Braves.
The Hawks Sunday match against the division-leading Leafs is the make-up game for the power outage that suspended the Dec. 29 match 15 minutes into the first period.
The game will resume with approximately five minutes to play in the first and Nelson leading 1-0. The Scotia Bank 50/50 draw will also continue.
The puck drop for Saturday’s game is 7:30 p.m. at the B.V. Arena, and Sunday’s match versus the Leafs goes at 2 p.m.