KIJHL: Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Nelson Leafs play for top spot

The Leafs and Hawks have split their two games this season and are both vying for top spot.

With a split on the weekend, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks slipped a notch in the Neil Murdoch Division standings but will have a chance to regain top spot as they host division leading Nelson Leafs tonight at 7 p.m. at the B.V. Arena.

The Hawks skated to a 4-1 victory over the Grand Forks Border Bruins Friday before falling in a tight-checking 3-1 affair to the North Okangan Knights on Saturday.

The Knights also defeated the Leafs 6-4 Friday, but Nelson won its next two matches, including a 4-1 win against Spokane Sunday and a 7-2 win over Grand Forks Saturday to grab a share of top spot with Castlegar.

In 14 games played, the Rebels and the Leafs have 17 points, while the Hawks are in third spot with 16 points although they’ve played two less games.

The Leafs and Hawks have split their two games this season, with the Hawks winning 8-2 at home, and the Leafs responding with a 5-2 win the next night.

Beaver Valley has been scoring by committee of late with defenceman Nick Perez leading the team in points with five goals and 12 assists in a dozen games, while rookie forwards Kurt Black, Taylor Stafford, Connor Brown-Maloski and Danny Vlanich have shared most of the scoring load of late.

The Hawks are sound defensively anchored by Perez, Archie McKinnon, Arie Postmus, Derek Lashuk, and Walker Sidoni and have a solid goaltending tandem in Zach Perehudoff and newly acquired Travis Beekhuizen.

As for Nelson, team captain Colton Schell leads the Leafs in scoring with seven goals and 13 assists, followed by 16-year-old Colton McCarthy, 11-3-14, and former Hawk Jacob Boyczuk with 11 points.

Cody Boekman and Cranbrook native Brett Soles share duties in net for Nelson. Soles sports a 5-0 record and an impressive 1.82 goals against average, while Boekman is 3-5 with a 2.80 GAA.