Thanks to a sensational performance by recent goaltending acquisition Travis Beekhuizen, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks split a pair of games at the Beaver Valley Arena on the Weekend.
The Hawks skated to a 4-1 victory over the Grand Forks Border Bruins Friday before falling in a tight-checking 3-1 affair to the North Okangan Knights on Saturday.
Beekhuizen stopped 47 of 48 shots in his first game for the Hawks, to get the victory over a much-improved Bruins line up and former Nitehawk goalie Dominic Stadnyk.
Danny Vlanich would net the winner at 10:09 of the first period to put the home side up 2-0 as the Hawks rifled 18 shots at Stadnyk who was traded to the Bruins earlier this week.
The Bruins replied when Jackson Purvis converted a nice pass from former Hawk Luke Jones to make it 2-1 before the end of the opening frame, but Taylor Stafford restored the two-goal lead with just 32 seconds remaining in the first.
Nick Perez would ice it in the second, taking a pass from Jordan Magico who also netted the first Hawks goal, and beating Stadnyk short side. Levi Kress added two assists for the Hawks, while Michael Bell picked up his first point as a Nitehawk setting up Magico on the opening goal of the game.
The Nitehawks were missing some essential cogs in the wheel Friday with Dallas Calvin, Archie McKinnon and Brad Gaboury out with illness and injury.
McKinnon and Calvin returned to the line up on Saturday, but could not stop a rampaging Knights team. The Knights crusade to the Kootenays was a successful one, after beating the Nelson Leafs 6-4 Friday, the NOK’s knocked off B.V.the next night.
Backstopped by the game’s first star Dustin Nikkel, who stopped 39 of 40 shots, the smooth skating Knights’ Josh Ellis netted the winner at 11:09 of the second, finishing off a nice 2-on-1 play from Mat Lambert, to put the Knights ahead 2-1.
The Knights pressured the Hawks from the start, with a precision attack and pinpoint passing that was an ongoing threat throughout the match.
The Hawks, however. led off the scoring when Danny Vlanich batted in a Taylor Stafford rebound on a scramble in front of Nikkel to give the Hawks an early 1-0 lead.
The NOKs replied when Colton Thibault took a centering pass and drilled a shot over Hawk goalie Zach Perehudoff to tie it before the end of the first frame.
The Hawks could not solve Nikkel the rest of the way and Ellis would get the insurance marker on the power play with 4:27 remaining in the third, on another blast by a helpless Perehudoff, who was outstanding as well in the Hawks net stopping 38 of 41 shots.
The power play was caused by a hard check from Kress who leveled a Knights’ forward. The ref decided to call it only after the Hawks’ Walker Sidoni stepped in to intercept a Josh Klein threat to retaliate against Kress. Sidoni made short work of the Knight, in what was one of few Hawk triumphs on the evening.
With a 3-1 win over B.V., 6-4 over Nelson, and 4-1 over Castlegar, the Knights are proving to be one of the team’s to beat this year in the KIJHL and currently rank second in the league with 21 points behind front-runner Osoyoos Coyotes with 24.
The Hawks host the Nelson Leafs on Tuesday at the Beaver Valley Arena at 7 p.m.