The next two games are a big test for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks as they get set to face two of the best teams in the KIJHL this season.
The Nitehawks travel to Nelson to take on the Leafs Friday, and will be looking to avenge a 10-3 humbling in their last meeting. The Hawks were at the mercy of a smooth skating and slick passing Leafs squad last week, and need to tighten its defence and generate the same offence that carried them to an 8-2 victory over the Leafs in early October.
“I think we’re building back up, we obviously had a lull to our play there, basically lost three of four games there and got whooped by Nelson,” said Nitehawk coach and GM Terry Jones. “I think it really shattered a lot of the boys confidence.”
“We started to do some things better, we’ve had some good practices and I think we have a good feeling, and I think guys are really looking forward to Friday night, (against the Leafs),” said Jones.
The Leafs sit atop the Neil Murdoch Division with 23 points while the Hawks are three points back in third place, but have two games in hand.
On Saturday the Hawks host the Sicamous Eagles, one of the elite teams in the Doug Birks Division of the Shuswap/Okanagan Conference.
“Every team we’ve played from the northern division has been solid . . . so we have to be ready for Sicamous. I expect it to be a very difficult weekend for us and I’m looking forward to see how the boys respond.”
The Eagles have lost just one game in regulation this year, and are led by 19-year-old Brendan Devries who leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and six assists in 14 games, and rookie forwards Cameron Berry, 8-9-17, and Kelyn Opel, 4-10-14.
Sicamous also enjoys a solid tandem between the pipes in Jack Surgenor, 19, who sports a 2.37 goals against average and a .912 save percentage, and rookie Kris Joyce, 17, with a .917 save percentage and a 2.84 GAA.
The Hawks will look to shut down the Leafs potent forwards especially 20-year-old captain Colten Schell.
“We have to be a way better defensive team, and we’re going to have to have a really good power play. As we progress those are the two things we have to really think about,” added Jones.