Castlegar goalie Matteo Hueston stopped 44 shots in the Rebels 2-0 shutout victory over the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Tuesday (Jan. 31) at the Castlegar Rec Complex.
A win for the Nitehawks would have put them in a tie for first place in the Neil Murdoch Division with the Grand Forks Border Bruins. The loss to the fourth place Rebels, a team that has been eliminated from playoff contention, is a stark reminder of the parity within the division.
Rebels forward Evan Lemke scored the game winning goal at 12:40 of the first period, and Jace Kramer tallied the insurance marker with 8:08 to play in the second.
The Nitehawks dominated the third period, outshooting the Rebels 18-4, but Hueston was unbeatable, making several key saves in the final 20 minutes to preserve the shut out, his first of the season.
B.V. was coming off a weekend high with overtime and shootout wins over the top teams in the Kootenay Conference in Grand Forks and Columbia Valley Rockies. B.V. goalie Nathan Presley stopped 55 shots in the win over the Rockies and was named the KIJHL Instat Star of the Week.
Beaver Valley outshot Castlegar 44-25, and went 0-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Nitehawks power play has struggled the past month. Beaver Valley is 16th in the 19-team league with a 14 per cent scoring average, and haven’t counted a power-play goal in 11 games. The team’s last goal with the man advantage came on Dec. 29 against the Rebels; since then Beaver Valley has gone 0-for-36.
B.V.’s penalty kill is 11th in the league with an 83.1 per cent success rate, but, the Hawks have tallied six shorthanded goals, fourth best in the KI.
Meanwhile, the 21-15-4-1 Nelson Leafs beat Grand Forks 4-0 on Tuesday to draw even with the 22-14-1-2 Nitehawks, each with 47 points. However, B.V. has two games in hand with five games left to play.
Beaver Valley is on the road this weekend, travelling to Golden for a game against the Rockets on Friday, and stopping in Invermere for a return match versus Columbia Valley Saturday (Feb. 4).
The Nitehawks return to the Nest for a much anticipated match up against the Border Bruins on Tuesday, Feb. 7 with the puck drop at 7 p.m.