With time winding down

With time winding down

Beaver Valley Nitehawks renew Castlegar Rebels rivalry

Beaver Valley Nitehawks remain undefeated after wining sixth games in a row.

In a classic battle of Neil Murdoch division foes, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Castlegar Rebels renewed their rivalry on Sunday in a fast-paced, intense game that saw the Hawks hold on for a close 3-1 victory.

Coming off a 5-3 win over the Columbia Valley Rockies on Friday, the Nitehawks faced a very different Rebels team than the one they blew out 13-1 in the pre-season.

“We knew it was going to be a different team,” said Hawks assistant coach Bill Birks. “But tonight we had all four lines going. Within three minutes we had all four lines on the ice and banging and that sets the tempo for the rest of the night.”

The Hawks jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first and held on as goalie Brandon Wells came up big stopping all 23 of his 34 shot total in the final two periods.

“Brandon Wells played a hell of a game, their goalie as well, but he (Wells) made a lot of key saves at certain times of the game that swung the momentum back in our favour,” said Birks.

Rookie Dylan Heppler netted the game’s winning goal, notching his third of the season on a 2-on-1 with Jace Weegar to put the Hawks up 2-0.

Weegar broke down the left wing and feathered a perfect pass over the sprawling defenceman to Heppler at the top of the slot. Rebel goalie Joseph McLeod made a tremendous save off Heppler’s initial blast but the Nitehawk forward followed it up and banged in the rebound with just under four minutes to play in the opening period.

The win Sunday extended the Hawks unbeaten streak to six games while dealing the Rebels’ their second loss of the season.

Weegar opened the scoring at 15:17 when Heppler sent a breakaway pass from his own end onto the tape of a streaking Weegar at the Rebel blue line, who walked in and beat McLeod low stick side to put the Hawks up 1-0.

After Heppler’s goal, Castlegar worked the puck to the front of the Hawks net, and Mike Bhatos spun and slapped the loose puck past Wells with 53 seconds to play in the first.

Yet, the Hawks refused to go into the second period satisfied with a one goal lead, and replied when Tyler Hartman deflected in a Evan Gorman point shot with eight seconds remaining in the period.

The Hawks outshot the Rebels 19-11 in the first. But the goaltenders shut the door after that, making several big saves in the second and third to keep the score 3-1, as the intensity ramped up in the end-to-end thriller.

Wells was particularly stellar in the third, when Castlegar outshot B.V. 13-11. He made a series of goal-line saves then slid across, robbing the Rebels forward on a 2-on-1 pass with just over five minutes remaining to preserve the two-goal lead.

“I knew he was coming across, and he didn’t have time to put it up top, so I was just worried about covering the bottom corner, and yeah, I got lucky,” Wells said after the game.

The Spirit River, Alta. native played his first game with the Hawks in the 13-1 exhibition blowout, and he expected a different Rebels team Sunday.

“That was my first game with Beaver Valley and it was kind of an eye opener, but tonight they came to play.”

B.V. outshot Castlegar 40-34 with Wells and McLeod named the game’s stars.

“When you’re facing the top team (B.V.)  . . . you always bring your best game,” said Birks. “But give credit to our guys we played a full 60 minutes tonight and it was well deserved.”

On Friday, the Nitehawks again jumped out to an early lead, going up 3-0 in the first on their way to a 5-3 victory over Columbia Valley.

Tyler Hartman got the Hawks on the board at 13:37, and Heppler made it 2-0 taking a Lyle Frank pass at the top of the slot and firing it low stick side on Rockies goalie Giovanni Sambrielaz.

Then with 1:15 remaining in the period, Devin Nemes walked in and fired a long shot over the blocker of Sambrielaz to make it 3-0, as B.V. outshot the Rockies 17-7.

The Rockies regrouped and came out flying in the middle frame. Colton Robb beat Drake Poirier 41 seconds in to make it a two-goal game. The Pruss brothers, however, tallied the winner at 15:57 on a pretty passing play with Michael making no mistake on Allan’s gift in front to make it 4-1. Layne Hunter pulled the Rockies back within two before the period was out, and the teams exchanged goals in the third with Weegar tipping in a Jake Yuris point shot to round out the scoring for B.V.

Drake stopped 26 of 29 shots on the night, while the Hawks fired 42 at Sambrielaz. Yuris counted two helpers and Heppler finished with a goal and an assist.

The wins set up important divisional weekend tilts against Nelson, 3-3-0-0, and Spokane, 1-4-0-3, on Friday and Saturday respectively.

“The division is going to be tight,” said Birks. “Castlegar’s going to have a good team, Nelson had a rough weekend but they’re right there, Spokane played us tough the first game of the season, but we have to keep the status quo, and keep getting better and better.”

Teams will be gunning to knockoff the only undefeated team in the KIJHL, and the Hawks have to be prepared for the opposition’s best effort every night, added Birks.

It’s a position the new coach is only too happy to be in, with a team he’s proud to be a part of.

“It’s been awesome,” said Birks. “Terry runs a hell of a program here, and now that you are on the inside and looking at it, it’s top notch and you understand why he has good teams every year. He runs it very, very well.”

The Nitehawks next home game goes Saturday versus Spokane at 7:30 p.m.

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Most Read