Hunter Young earned his first KIJHL shutout as the Beaver Valley Nitehawks goalie stopped 39 shots in a 4-0 win over the Spokane Braves Saturday in Spokane.
John Usselman scored the game winner at the 15 minute mark of the opening period, banging in a rebound off a Morgan Peace shot for a 1-0 Hawks lead.
B.V. dominated the first in what turned into a classic goaltenders duel, as B.V. outshot Spokane 22-13 in the opening frame.
The win lifts the 21-7-2-3 Nitehawks into first place, just one point up on the Nelson Leafs who beat B.V. 3-2 on Friday night at the Hawks Nest. The Hawks have three games in hand on Nelson, who lost to the Columbia Valley Rockies 5-3 on Sunday, following wins over B.V. and the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
In Saturday’s match vs Spokane, Hawks’ forward Lucas Anselmo tallied his third goal of the campaign on the power play, driving to the net and going top shelf on Braves goalie Austin Madge for a 2-0 lead at 7:48 of the second period.
With 99 seconds left in the period, Jared Stocks scored his 11th of the season, as the Nitehawks took a 3-0 lead despite being outshot by the Braves 19-14.
Stocks then added his 12th with 6:05 to play in the third, grabbing the puck off a broken play and beating Madge for the 4-0 final.
Beaver Valley outshot Spokane 46-39, and went 1-for-2 on the power play, and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
B.V. also welcomed back Nolan Corrado to the fold, and released goalie Saran Virdee. Corrado played 29 games in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League with the Notre Dame Hounds before making his way back to B.V. The 18-year-old, six-foot-three forward scored six goals and 24 points in 44 games with the Nitehawks last season.
Virdee’s release leaves the crease in the capable hands of Young and Kevin Engman. Young is 7-1-1-1 in 10 games with the Hawks and owns an impressive 1.96 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. Engman, a Trail native, is 9-2-0-0 with a 3.14 GAA.
After showing potential last season, Virdee struggled posting a 6-7-1-0 record, a 3.22 goals against average and an .891 save percentage.
The Nitehawks have been hampered by injuries and were without forwards Angus Amadio, Philippe Lessard, and Marcus McEachern, and d-men Quaid Anderson and Luke Woodrow.
Beaver Valley is back in action this week when they host the Castlegar Rebels on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the B.V. Arena, and travel to Creston on Saturday for a game against the Thunder Cats.