Coyotes invade Hawks Nest

Beavery Valley Nitehawks face off against Spokane Braves tonight, then return home to play Osoyoos on Saturday.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks is one of three undefeated teams in the KIJHL and will look to keep the goose egg intact as it faces the Spokane Braves in Spokane Friday and return home for a match against the Osoyoos Coyotes at the Beaver Valley Arena Saturday.

The Kootenay Conference’s Hawks, Nelson Leafs, and Kimberley Dynamiters have yet to lose a game, while the lone unbeaten squad in regulation in the Okanagan-Shushwap Conference is the North Okanagan Knights that have just one overtime loss on the season.

Spokane meanwhile has two wins and seven losses, one of those an opening season 5-2 loss to B.V., however, it’s always interesting when the Nitehawks travel south of the border.

“It’s like a different world down there playing hockey,” said Nitehawks assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto. “The rules seem to change, and we always go in with the mentality that we’re two goals behind before we even step on the ice.”

Cominotto knows the Braves will have improved since their first meeting Sept. 13 and indeed both the Braves’ wins have come in their past four games, a 3-2 win over Columbia Valley, and a 6-3 drubbing of the Summerland Steam. Sandwiched between the two victories was a close 4-3 loss to the Nelson Leafs last Friday.

“We know that we’re in for a battle and just get that mindset that it’s going to be a long night, and we’re going to have to stay disciplined,” Cominotto said. “I’m sure that with a few weeks of practice and a couple more games, they’re going to be a better team and I know we’re a better team than we were the first time we played.”

The Coyotes meanwhile are another Okanagan-Shushwap Conference enigma. They currently sit tied for third in the Okanagan division and are coming off a weekend of mixed results, beating the second-place Kelowna Chiefs 5-2 Friday before falling to the last place Princeton Posse 4-2 on Saturday.

“We don’t really know anything about them (Osoyoos), but they have a good organization and good coaching over there, and since they’ve come back into the league they seem to make a strong push in the playoffs, so we have high expectations for Saturday night,” added Cominotto.

The Hawks line of Ryan Edwards, Taylor Stafford, and Michael Bell has accounted for the lion’s share of offensive production so far this season, but it does not mean the other three lines are not contributing, says Cominotto.

“The line of (Sam) Swanson, and (Mitch) Foyle, and (Sam) Barker they’ve done a great job for us this year, and up until the last couple games they’ve probably been our quickest line. They generate a lot of offence, they do the work of getting us into the offensive zone, and then Edwards’ line comes up and reaps all the benefits. That line’s done a great job for us this year.”

The Nitehawks game against the Coyotes goes Saturday at the B.V. Arena at 7:30 p.m.