The Beaver Valley Nitehawks kicked off December on a winning note with a 5-2 victory over the Spokane Braves on Friday in Spokane.
Injuries hit the Nitehawks hard in November, and just two wins followed an October that saw B.V. go unbeaten in eight games. However, with players on the mend and a couple of roster moves, the Nitehawks are determined to get back on the winning track for the holiday season.
The Nitehawks sent Jasper native Jake Huculak to the North Okanagan Knights in exchange for futures last week, and lost 16-year-old Darian Fuller for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, forward Blake Sidoni played his last game for the Hawks, as the Trail native was signed by the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters at the Dec. 1 roster deadline. B.V. still has defencemen Kevan McBean and Connor Seib, and forward Morgan Peace on the injury list, but saw captain Sam Swanson return to action Friday.
Bradley Ross scored twice including the winning goal, and Swanson managed a goal and an assist, while seeing limited action in his return from injury to the Nitehawks’ line up in Spokane Friday.
Ross finished a power-play set up from Dylan Heppler and Swanson to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead with 3:53 left to play in the second period.
The win keeps the Hawks in the hunt for the Neil Murdoch Division lead, four-points behind second-place Castlegar Rebels and eight points back of the Nelson Leafs. The Rebels are the hottest team in the league pushing their winning streak to six games following a 4-1 drubbing of the Leafs Saturday.
The Nitehawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period but a Spokane goal from Elliot Plourde with 2:47 left tied it.
After Nolan Percival was sent off for slashing, the Braves Trail Thompson netted his 11th of the year at 14:08 of the second period to give Spokane a 2-1 lead. However, with just over 10-minutes remaining in the period, Samson took a pass from Amadio and wired one by Braves goalie Trevor Dilauro to tie it at two.
Following Ross’ go-ahead goal, the Trail native notched his 15th goal and 24th point of the season on a B.V. power play to make it 4-2 at 15:50 of the third. Rossland’s Karsten Jang capped off the scoring with the Hawks third power-play goal with 4:10 left in regulation.
Eighteen-year-old Calgary product, Amadio, had a huge four-point night for the Hawks scoring once and adding three assists, as B.V. outshot the Braves 44-40. B.V. went 3-for-4 on the power play, and shut down the Braves on 4-of-5 extra-man opportunities. Hawks goalie Owen Sikkes was solid in net and earned the Away Game Star, while Thompson was the Home Star for Spokane.
Beaver Valley has just one game this weekend, when the Nitehawks host the front-running Nelson Leafs at the B.V. Arena on Friday at 7 p.m.