The Beaver Valley Nitehawks face off against a couple of Eddie Murdoch division foes this weekend as they travel to Creston to take on the ThunderCats on Friday, then host the Golden Rockets at the Hawks Nest Saturday.
The 15-7-1-1 ThunderCats split their games on the weekend beating the Doug Birks division basement-dwelling Sicamous Eagles 3-0 Friday thanks to a 47-save performance from Brock Lefebvre. Yet, the Cats handed the Rockets just their second win of the season Sunday in a 5-3 setback.
“We put ourselves in a hole early in the game and Golden scored a couple goals off turnovers in our zone,” Creston coach Jeff Dubois told the Creston Valley Advance. “By the time we got our act together in the third, we dug ourselves a deep enough hole that we couldn’t get back into it.”
One shining star for the Cats was the play of recently acquired forward Brett Witala, who has three goals and an assist in the two games since joining Creston on Friday. Austin Seger was sent to the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League in exchange for Witala, who tallied 13 points in 18 games with the Storm.
But the Cats MVP this season is goalie Lefebvre who boasts a 2.05 goals against average and a .941 save percentage, and the Hawks snipers will have to be at their best to beat the Cranbrook native.
The Hawks meanwhile will be without injured forwards Sam Swanson and Kyle Hope, and defenceman Lyle Frank.
“You miss Lyle Frank on the back end on a consistent basis, I mean you can hang on for a little bit, but you need someone else to step back in and jump up,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones.
Last week the Hawks had a good performance from affiliate players Connor Seib and Brad Ross in a 3-2 win over Nelson, but were forced to go to a short bench on Saturday in an overtime loss to Grand Forks.
“We’ll try to get another AP in,” said Jones. “We’ll wait and see where we’re at Friday. I think we’re looking for an AP on defence. Jake Yuris should be back and then we’d have six guys we can play, so we’ll have some healthy, but we’re still without Sam, Kyle, and Lyle.”
The Rockets meanwhile have struggled to a 2-21-1-2 record this season, but should be coming off a high after upsetting the ThunderCats Sunday.
“The league is tight and it’s not like there’s any run away games,” said Jones. “It’s just putting 60 minutes together.”
The Nitehawks play in Creston at 7 p.m. and will host the Rockets on Saturday night at the Beaver Valley Arena a 7:30 p.m.