The Beaver Valley Nitehawks regained the top spot in the Neil Murdoch Division standings with a 4-1 victory over the Castlegar Rebels on Tuesday.
Hawks forward Jared Stocks scored a game-winning shorthanded goal at 5:15 of the first period to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
The win gives B.V. a two-point and two-game cushion over the Nelson Leafs in the hunt for the Murdoch division title.
Zachary Park opened the scoring at 12:32 on a setup from Nolan Corrado and Brock Wallace as the Nitehawks flew out of the gate, dominating the Rebels in the early going and outshooting them 11-4 in the first frame.
Nate Ingram put the Nitehawks up 3-0 five minutes into the middle frame on a determined effort, as he gathered a loose puck and lifted it under the bar for some insurance.
The Rebels broke the shutout bid by Hawks’ goalie Hunter Young late in the second period. Young stymied the Rebels shooter on a breakaway, and stopped the rebound, but trailer Jordan Adams banged in the third try to cut the lead to two.
Regardless, B.V. defenceman Brennan Wilson blasted a shot past Castlegar goalie Ethan Lawczynski to make it 4-1 midway through the third. The Rebels goalie stymied the Nitehawks in their last meeting, stopping 40 shots in a 3-2 victory in Castlegar on Jan. 17.
It was a good bounce-back effort for the Hawks who struggled offensively in a 7-1 loss to Columbia Valley on Saturday.
B.V. outshot the Rebels 31-27 with Hunter and Lawczynski earning player of the game honours.
The Nitehawks begin a home-and-home with the Spokane Braves this weekend. Beaver Valley travels to Spokane for the first game before returning to the Hawks Nest on Saturday.
Spokane won back-to-back games over the Rebels, 4-1, and Grand Forks Border Bruins, 3-1, on Saturday and Sunday, following a tough 5-3 loss to the Nelson Leafs Friday. The Braves led the game 3-0 late in the second period, but five unanswered goals lifted the Leafs to victory.
Derek Humphreys (20 G, 10 A, 39 pts) and Alex Enegren (14-20-34) lead the Braves offensively, but, arguably, their MVPs this season has been goalies Marcello De Antunano and Austin Madge. De Antunano boasts an 8-7-1 record with a 3.53 goals against, and a .901 save percentage, while Madge has gone 4-6-1 with a 2.87 GAA and a .933 SP.
The Nitehawks have two wins and a tie against the 18-18-2-3 Braves this season, including a 4-0 shutout win in their last meeting Jan. 4. Spokane sits comfortably in third place, 13 points ahead of the Rebels, who lead the Border Bruins by one point in a battle for the fourth and final playoff spot.
The Nitehawks-Rebels puck drop goes at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Beaver Valley Arena.