The Beaver Valley Nitehawks regained home-ice advantage, after earning a split with the Kamloops Storm on the weekend at McArthur Park Arena in Kamloops and are back in B.V. for Game 3 last night and Game 4 tonight.
Beaver Valley got over their opening-game jitters in a 4-2 loss against a relatively unknown Storm team on Friday, to skate to a convincing 6-2 victory Saturday.
“I’m definitely happy with the split, but we didn’t play very well up until the second period of Game 2,” said Nitehawk coach Terry Jones. “We really started to get it going from there, but just didn’t put the 60 minutes that we needed to in Game 1.”
In Game 2, the Nitehawks erupted for three goals in less than four minutes near the end of the second period to erase a 2-1 deficit and take a 4-2 lead into the third. Braden Fuller would net the winner at 1:36 taking a pass from Dallas Calvin and beating Storm goalie Wade Moyls to put the Hawks up 3-2.
The victory was an improvement on an uninspired Game 1 effort, and Jones and the Hawks will look to bring that momentum into Games 3 and 4.
“I thought we definitely learned something about them, but I think it was a big adjustment playing on the big ice surface, those things are important . . . but when it comes down to it it’s about winning battles and we just didn’t win the battles on Friday.”
B.V.’s Riley Brandt gave the Hawks an early lead, but Kamloops would storm back with goals from Brock Balson and Daniel Buchanan 34 seconds apart midway through the period, but that would be the last time they held the lead.
“We were just sloppy,” Storm coach Ed Patterson told the Kamloops This Week. “It was 2-1 and we turned it into a track meet. We were trading chances with an offensive team and that’s going to kill you no matter who you are.”
Trailing 2-1 the Hawks turned it on in the second, firing 16 shots at Moyls before finally finding the equalizer with 4:22 left to play in the period when Dan Holland would net his first of two on the night. After Fuller’s goal, Calvin and Fuller would team up again 44 seconds later, with Calvin bulging the twine this time.
The offensive outburst was typical of a Hawks team that has five players in the top 10 in playoff scoring including the top three in Edwards, Calvin, and Brandt. Kamloops, a team that scores by committee, has one player, Luke Gordon, in the top 10, currently in fifth spot with 11-10-21.
“I just felt that in the second period we started to skate . . . After the first period I kind of gave it to the guys,” said Jones. “That first period wasn’t good enough, and we had to start winning our battles, and I felt like the guys started to push it up, and on the bench you could really tell.”
The Storm would make a goaltending change between periods, but the Hawks would keep the pressure on Kamloops and Holland and Edwards would round out the scoring in the third.
The Kamloop’s coach was not happy with the performance of his team on Saturday, and will undoubtedly make adjustments in the games ahead.
“I want us to remember the beat down that we just took, but as soon as we walk out that door we’re moving on to Game 3,” Patterson said.
Kamloops has gone undefeated in six road games during this season’s playoffs, but Beaver Valley will look to end that streak.
“I expect them to be real tough tonght,” said Jones. “They know what’s at stake and they’re going to be looking to at least get a split back. They have a good hockey club, so I think they have a lot of veterans and know how to play so it’s not like we’re going to be at home we’re going to win – we have to earn the victory.”