Hawks-Leafs showdown pending

"A late game-winning goal for Beaver Valley Nitehawks Saturday kept the Nitehawks first place hopes alive..."

Happy Valentine’s Day.  I hope everybody has one.

• It appears that the  KIJHL scene will showcase a barn burner of a finish locally.

A late game-winning goal for Beaver Valley Nitehawks Saturday kept the Nitehawks first place hopes alive and there is every possibility the title in the Neil Murdoch Division, the league’s toughest  by far, will be decided in the very last regular season game on the league schedule.

A loss, or even overtime, which loomed, would have likely dashed any first place hopes for the Nitehawks, who now have their fate in their own hands.

Nothing is a given, yet. But, if both the Nitehawks and Nelson Leafs, losers Saturday night but still tops in the division, win out from here until the season’s last day, their game next Saturday will be a winner-take-all as far as the top standings spot goes.

The winner of that game will claim first place and home ice advantage, a decided advantage in recent years, for the playoff round. Nelson has the tiebreaker, so it will be win or finish second for Beaver Valley.

The Nitehawks still have a home and home with Castlegar Rebels this weekend, and face an always-difficult trek to a resurgent Spokane on the season’s penultimate day, but those are games they, “should,” win and any stumble, given it is expected Nelson will take their two games against Grand Forks, will end their first-place hopes.

Motivation should not be a problem.

It won’t be a problem for sure on the 22nd of the month, for either the Leafs or the Nitehawks.

Fans, too, should be highly motivated to attend the remaining games, given their import and the long-standing intensity of the Nelson-Beaver Valley rivalry.

Hit the Beaver Valley Arena tonight at 7:30 p.m. when the Nitehawks battle the Castlegar Rebels who need a win to clinch third place, and relegate Spokane to the fourth and final playoff spot.

• Spring training has begun, can spring be far behind?