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Creston Thunder Cats upset B.V. Nitehawks in Game 1

The Nitehawks third period comeback came up short in a 5-4 loss to Creston on Tuesday in B.V.

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats spoiled a third period comeback from the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Tuesday in Game 1 of the Neil Murdoch Division playoffs at the Hawks Nest.

The Nitehawks trailed 4-2 heading into the final frame, but Ethan Smyth jumped on a rebound and lifted it into the open net 71 seconds in to cut the lead to one.

B.V. had a glorious chance while shorthanded to tie it, when Hayden Stocks broke in all alone and rang a shot off the post with about 13 minutes to play.

But just as their own power play expired, Spencer Lloyd gathered a loose puck in front of the Creston net and buried it with 8:42 to play to tie the game at 4-4, for his first goal as a Nitehawk.

The Nitehawks dominated Creston in the third, outshooting the Thunder Cats 16-9, but Campbell McLean capitalized on a defensive breakdown in the Nitehawks end. A Creston forward stripped the defenceman of the puck, and fired a shot on goal. Hawks goalie Kevin Engman made a pad save on the first shot, but Mclean banged in the rebound for a 5-4 lead with 3:09 remaining.

Beaver Valley was set to play Castlegar in the first round, but a late change from the league transferred Creston into the Murdoch division, making them the third seed, and dropping Castlegar into the fourth seed.

The Nitehawks opened the scoring when Austin McKenzie scored on a power play, lifting a rebound past Creston goalie Carlos Sisos 4:13 into the opening frame. However, goals from Corbin Cockerill, Reece Nelson, and Adam Redding gave the Cats a 3-1 lead, before Stocks’ power-play goal cut the lead to one before the period was out.

In a grinding second period Luke Chakrabarti found an open net after Mclean’s attempt was blocked in front at the 3:20 mark for a 4-2 Cats’ lead heading into the third.

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The Nitehawks outshot the Thunder Cats 39-23, and went 2-for-4 on the power play, while Creston was 2-for-5.

In the other Murdoch Division semi-final, the Castlegar Rebels defeated the number-1 seed Nelson Leafs, 2-1.

Game 2 of the Nitehawks-Thunder Cats series goes tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Beaver Valley Arena.

KIJHL