Tallon Kramer earned the shut out and Nolan Percival’s goal at 6:30 of the first period was all the Beaver Valley Nitehawks needed as the team rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Spokane Braves on Saturday night at the B.V. Arena.
Coming off a three-game losing streak that included a 3-2 overtime loss to the Nelson Leafs on Friday, the Hawks refocused and came out flying from the drop of the puck.
“Finally I think it was the first time this year we actually played to our full potential,” said Hawks goaltender Tallon Kramer. “It was a bit of a wake up call for us to lose those three or two-and-a-half games there so it was good to see the guys turn it on tonight.”
After peppering Spokane goalie J.J. Pichette for 13 minutes the Hawks finally broke through on the power play. The Hawks Damon Kramer worked the puck to Percival in the high slot and the Nelson native wired a slap shot by Pichette to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Twenty-five seconds later, a scramble in front of the Spokane net saw Aiden Browell and Devin Nemes get whacks at it before Damon Kramer gathered the puck and backhanded it under a sprawling Braves goalie.
The Hawks continued its relentless pressure and Sam Swanson finished a pretty play, taking a pass from Kyle Hope and sending Jaxen Gemmell in all alone only to be robbed by Pichette. But Swanson, the Hawks’ captain, won the battle for the puck in front and shovelled in the rebound to make it 3-0 with 1:55 left in the opening frame. B.V. outshot Spokane 26-6 in the period.
Following a scoreless second period, the Nitehawks power play went to work in the third after Andrew Clark was sent off for roughing. Jake Yuris notched his first goal of the season blasting a point shot by Pichette to make it 4-0 at 17:26 of the final frame.
“I’m extremely happy with the effort tonight,” said Nitehawks assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto. “That was the most complete game we’ve had all year from our goaltender all the way through. We had guys skating, we finished pucks, we were relentless and ultimately that’s what we’re striving for.”
The Hawks outshot the Braves 7-5 in the third and 45-19 in the game to earn three-of-four points on the weekend and sit in second place behind Grand Forks in the Neil Murdoch Division standings at 4-3-1-0-1, just a point ahead of Nelson which has a game in hand.
Aiden Browell notched two assists on the night, while Damon Kramer had two points with a goal and an assist and was the Hawks’ player of the game.
In Friday’s match against the Leafs, Dale Howell scored 33 seconds into the second overtime to give Nelson the 3-2 victory.
Percival and Blake Sidoni had given B.V. a 2-0 lead in the first period, but goals from Colum Mcgauley in the second period, and a third-period power-play marker by David Lenzin tied it up for the Leafs.
BV outshot Nelson 35-26 with Devin Allen getting the win in his first game in net for the Leafs.
Despite the loss, the turnaround on Saturday bodes well for another upcoming meeting with the Leafs and Braves this weekend.
“We feel like we’re just hitting our stride now,” said Cominotto. “Last night (Friday) I thought we played really well. We obviously didn’t get the results we wanted, and we didn’t put them away when we had the chance. There were times throughout the game where we took full control but we weren’t able to bury the puck, and if you don’t bury it when you have your opportunities, you get the result that we had and ended up losing in overtime.”
The Nitehawks next game goes on Friday against Nelson at the Beaver Valley Arena with the puck drop at 7:30 p.m.