The Beaver Valley Nitehawks scored four goals in the third period to defeat the Nelson Leafs 6-2 and tie the best-of-seven Neil Murdoch semifinal series at 1-1 on Saturday in Nelson.
Rossland product Ollie Clement scored the game winner, tallying a shorthanded goal 4:19 into the third period to give the Nitehawks a 3-2 lead. A determined forecheck by Clement and Boris Hristov forced Nelson to cough up the puck, and Hristov fed Clement for the go-ahead goal.
It was a team effort for Beaver Valley following a 5-4 overtime loss to the Leafs in Game 1. Six different players scored for the Hawks, as special teams was the key to victory and included two power-play markers and two shorthanded goals.
After a scoreless first period Nathan Dominici and Kaleb Percival gave B.V. a 2-0 lead, but late goals by Ryan Quast and Tyson Lautard tied it at two heading into the final frame.
After Clement made it 3-2, Lucas Gartner’s power play goal put the Nitehawks up two.
With just over five minutes remaining, Nelson enjoyed a 6-on-3 power play, with two B.V. players in the penalty box and the Nelson goalie on the bench for the extra attacker. But it was B.V. forward Boris Hristov who scored into the empty net for a shorthanded goal and a 5-2 lead.
Ethan Smyth then finished the scoring with his first of the series with 3:13 to play for the 6-2 final.
Beaver Valley and Nelson each finished with 31 shots on goal, with the Nitehawks going 2-for-7 on the power play and Nelson 1-for-8.
In Game 1 of the series on Friday (Feb. 17), Tyson Lautard scored the overtime winner to lift the Leafs to a 5-4 victory.
The Leafs took a 2-1 lead into the second, but Nathan Dominici tied it three minutes in. Nelson forward Johnny Carmichael gave the Leafs a 3-2 lead, and Crae Dawson made it 4-2 on the power play at 8:20. Before the period was out, Kaleb Percival scored his first of the playoff on a set up from Gavin Tritt and Clement to cut the lead to one.
With time winding down in the third, Hristov notched his second of the game with 2:01 left in regulation to tie it at 4-4 and force the extra frame.
The Nitehawks outshot the Leafs 37-29 and were 1-for-4 on the power play, while Nelson went 2-for-3.
The Leafs were without Carmichael for Game 2, as the Nelson captain was suspended for two games for head contact. Although there was no penalty called on the play, the KIJHL Department of Player Safety assessed the suspension after reviewing the incident following Game 1 of the series versus Beaver Valley. He is slated to return for Game 4 on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Game 3 of the series is set for Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Beaver Valley Arena with the puck drop at 7 p.m. and Game 4 goes on Wednesday (Feb. 22), same time and place.
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