Hawks prep for playoffs

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are poised to capture first place in the KIJHL.

While the Beaver Valley Nitehawks are poised to capture first place in the KIJHL, the Trail Smoke Eaters are aiming to divert Prince George’s playoff plans.

The Nitehawks head into their final four games of the season this week virtually guaranteed of first place overall. All they need is one point to secure the KIJHL title.

A Hawks win or a Revelstoke Grizzlies tie or loss will secure them the banner.

Beaver Valley has already surpassed the point total of their 2004 team, the last to wear the league points crown.  In 2004, the Hawks amassed 80 points in 50 games while this year’s team has 81 in 48 games.

2004 is also the last year the Hawks won the KIJHL playoffs.

With the title all but locked up coach Terry Jones has no plans to rest players before the playoffs.

“If a guys a little banged up we may,” said Jones. “But we’re just going to try to keep it normal . . . we want to make sure everybody is feeling good and ready for playoffs.”

The Smoke Eaters meanwhile will have the Fred Page Cup on  display as they host the Prince George Spruce Kings tonight and Saturday.

The Smoke Eaters gutsy play of late has put them in position to be a real threat to teams with playoff aspirations like the Spruce Kings.

The Spruce Kings sit in third place, three points ahead of both Chilliwack and Vernon. A couple losses to the home team could put Prince George on the outside looking in.

The Smoke Eaters games go at 7:30 p.m.

The Nitehawks play Golden at home on Saturday at 7:30  p.m. and the Spokane Braves, a team they’ll meet in the first round of playoffs, in a Sunday afternoon tilt at 1 p.m. at the B.V. Arena.

Of note: Fruitvale native Ryan Duley was also named Player of the Month for collecting 25 points in 11 games for Kimberley Dynamiters.