The Beaver Valley Nitehawks can redress Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Grand Forks Border Bruins, when the Hawks travel to Grand Forks for another meeting on Friday.
After winning seven of eight games, Beaver Valley hit a couple bumps in the road on the weekend, as quality goaltending from Grand Forks puck-stopper Ross King and a struggling B.V. power play sunk the Nitehawks on Saturday, following a 4-1 loss to Nelson Friday.
B.V. dominated play in the first period, but only Paul Leroux could solve King, scoring the Nitehawks only goal of the game, while outshooting the Bruins 15-5 in the period and 32-18 in the game.
Since the holiday break, the Nitehawks have one win (3-0 against the injury-plagued Castlegar Rebels), and have gone 1-for-14 with the extra man. Although the Hawks were without captain Jake Yuris against Grand Forks, an inability to move the puck out of their end when on a man advantage proved disastrous.
A shorthanded goal by the Border Bruins broke a 1-1 tie, and decided the game in the final three minutes and 31 seconds, when fans were expecting the Nitehawks to generate some offence.
The Nitehawks played undisciplined hockey in the third period and their power play struggled all night, going 0-for-6. In addition to allowing the game-winning short-handed goal, the Nitehawks only managed three shots on the Bruins goal the entire third period.
The final-frame woes have haunted B.V. many times this season that included blowing three-goal leads against the Castlegar Rebels and Border Bruins in back-to-back games last month. On Friday, the Hawks allowed three third-period tallies by the Nelson Leafs in a 4-1 loss, and went 0-for-4 on the power play, managing just five shots on goal in the period.
The Nitehawks have 14 games remaining in the regular season and will need to play up to their potential the rest of the way, and find some finish on the power play if they hope to gain momentum heading to the playoffs.
The Nitehawks have a stellar 7-2-1-0 record against the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference, yet, are a so-so 7-6-0-1 against Murdoch Division rivals and a disappointing 3-7-0-0 versus Eddie Murdoch Division rivals.
The good news is that B.V. has three more games against the Spokane Braves, who they they are 3-0 against, and the Castlegar Rebels, 2-0-1-0, so far this year, as well as tilts against Creston and Fernie who they are undefeated in three games. But B.V. has yet to beat Nelson, and has two more games, Jan. 19 and Feb. 9, against them this year, and a pair versus the Columbia Valley Rockies and Golden Rockets who the Hawks lost to this season.
The Hawks had closed to within five points of the division-leading Nelson, but now trail by nine points and will need help from other teams if they expect to catch the Leafs.
Beaver Valley’s run down the stretch begins Friday, and a win over the Border Bruins in Grand Forks would be a good place to start.