The Trail Special Olympic Roadrunners chose a good time to pick on a struggling Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ team as they renewed their rivalry on the hard court in a spirited game of ringette hockey at the Trail Middle School on Tuesday.
The Roadrunners scored an impressive shootout victory over the Hawks, with the electric Jordy Thompson potting the shootout winner and leading the way with a hat trick on a porous Hawks’ forward-come-netminder in Keenan Patershuk.
“This is a great give back by the Hawks,” said Special O coach Ben Postmus. “Our players look forward to each match. It’s a great opportunity to show off their skills with the Hawks players, and they are all such good sports.”
This is the third year that the Hawks have partnered with the Special Olympians, with the players meeting at the school every Tuesday to mentor and practice with the Special O floor hockey team.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be involved with,” said Nitehawk coach Terry Jones. “We periodically have games with them, and they reciprocate and come to our games, it’s been a terrific experience for our boys.”
The Roadrunners have been very focused and working extremely hard to improve their game and qualify for the B.C. Special Olympic Winter Games, and will play in the Regional qualifiers this winter.
“Thanks to the Nitehawks, we are getting closer and closer to reaching our goal of qualifying for the next Games.” said Postmus. “I can’t say enough about the local support we get, and all the groups that want to come out and play our floor Hockey group. What a night. So much fun, tons of laughs, and so many smiles on faces.”
The Special Olympians also receive great support from organizations like Kootenay Savings, 44th Field Engineers, Trail RCMP, Fruitvale and Warfield Firefighters, School District 20, and Fruitvale Elementary School teachers.
The Hawks are coming off a tough Okanagan road trip, losing 2-of-3, before succumbing to the Special Olympic Roadrunners on Tuesday.
“Yea we gave up another three-goal lead (to the Roadrunners) then lost in a shootout,” said Jones.
The Hawks have blown a few third period leads of late; a five-goal cushion against Nelson last month and a three-goal lead against Kelowna Friday in a 7-6 OT loss.
“We have to work on our discipline, it’s been a big factor for us, and our consistency. When we play good, man we are a good team, but when we let things get away from us, with momentum, we just haven’t been able to respond.”
The Hawks also need consistency between the pipes. Injury has played a part, with four different goalies making appearances this season, but Jones says, “We also have to get a save when we need to. We’re not getting the goaltending that we need to get to be successful.”
The 9-6-0-1 Ghostriders are in second spot in the Eddie Mountain division and will give the Hawks all they can handle on Saturday.
“We expect the game with Fernie to be a tough match, you know Dale Hladun’s teams always work hard and so they’ll be ready to knock us off.”
The Nitehawks will then face the Spokane Braves at the Hawks Nest on Sunday. The Braves are much improved, taking the league-leading Nelson Leafs into overtime last week, before bowing to Castlegar 3-2 Sunday.
The puck drops versus Fernie at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and against Spokane at 7 p.m. on Sunday.