The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are flying high as they won their sixth playoff game in a row on the weekend with a pair of wins over the Grand Forks Border Bruins in Games 1 and 2 of the Neil Murdoch division series.
After sweeping the Nelson Leafs in four games, the number 1 seeded Hawks beat the third seeded Border Bruins 3-2 Friday, then skated to a convincing 5-2 victory on Saturday.
In Saturday’s match, B.V. defenceman Brett Roberts scored what proved to be the winner at 2:36 of the second period to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead. Fruitvale native Kyle Hope worked the puck to Roberts at the point and the 19-year-old Grande Prairie native fired a shot that was inadvertently banked in by a Bruins defenceman.
The winner of the Murdoch division series will face the Eddie Mountain division champion for the Kootenay Conference title. In the Mountain division the Kimberley Dynamiters defeated the Creston Valley Thundercats 2-1 in overtime in Game 1 Saturday.
Sam Swanson opened the scoring when he jumped on a rebound off the pad of Bruins goalie Anthony Galliart and lifted it over the sprawling netminder at 13:43 of the first period to take a 1-0 lead into the second as the Hawks outshot Grand Forks 13-11.
McKoy Hauk made it 2-0 Nitehawks on the power play when he took a pass from Kiellan Olson at the point, walked in and wired a shot over the glove of Galliart at 11:36 of the middle frame.
The Hawks found themselves down two men, when seven players were sent to the penalty box following a scrum in front of the Hawks net, and Hauk was sent off 25 seconds later for slashing, with seven minutes to play. But the defence held and Tallon Kramer made big saves when required to end the threat. The momentum swung in the Hawks favour and, following Roberts goal, would go into the third with a 3-0 lead, outshooting the Bruins 11-6 in the period.
Grand Forks struck quick to open the third. Garret Brisbois snuck a puck by Kramer 24 seconds in to make it 3-1, but the Nitehawks replied on the power play. Hauk and Roberts worked the puck to Blake Sidoni at the hash mark, and Sidoni wristed it by Galliart at 13:56 for his second goal and sixth playoff point.
The Border Bruins would cut the lead to two off a Jordan Roberts tip in, but Devin Nemes, who had been crashing and banging all night, made a nice cut across the slot and snapped a quick shot top shelf for the 5-2 final.
The Nitehawks outshot the Border Bruins 34-25 and went 2-for-4 on the power play while the Bruins went 1-for-7.
In Friday’s game Dylan Heppler scored twice and Nemes tallied the other marker, as the Hawks built a 3-1 lead then held on as Tyler Fife drew the Bruins within one with eight minutes to play.
The Hawks and Bruins meet again Monday night in Grand Forks for Game 3 at 7 p.m.