In a surprise move Sunday, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks signed former Hawks goaltender and Keystone Cup MVP, Brett Clark, while releasing goalie Drake Poirier.
The move came prior to Sunday’s trade deadline, and on the heals of a pair of wins over Nelson and Spokane on the weekend.
Last season, the 20-year-old Poirier was solid in net for the Nitehawks posting a 19-7 record with a .908 save percentage, but since suffering from a virus earlier this year, the Trail native struggled to return to form going 15-10-1 with a .887 save percentage.
“We had arranged an opportunity for him to go to Revelstoke but he’s got school and it was too difficult for him to make that work,” said Beaver Valley coach and GM Terry Jones. “It’s a very difficult situation.”
Clark, meanwhile, has been on the move for most of the year in Junior A, playing in the BCHL with West Kelowna, the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, and Calgary Mustangs of the Alberta Junior League. The 20-year-old Grande Prairie native also played a full season with the Trail Smoke Eaters in 2014-15, a year after backstopping the Nitehawks to the KIJHL championship and the Keystone Cup Jr. B Western Canadian title in April 2014. In four games at the Keystone, Clark posted a 1.00 goals against average and .962 save percentage. In 30 games with the Hawks that year, Clark won 22 games, and sported a 2.73 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
“It’s a hockey decision, but when you care about kids and are invested in kids, it’s a very difficult process,” said Jones.
“He scored two goals this weekend, and we’re thrilled for him to get that opportunity,” said Jones. The promotion of Joseph, however, leaves the Hawks with an open card.
“We were pursuing a few options, trying to find somebody yesterday (Sunday), and we had a couple of irons in the fire but nothing panned out, so we’ll just have to wait and see, when the dust clears. There are a few guys out there right now, but we’re pretty happy with our roster right now.”
In Sunday’s game in Spokane, Hawks goalie Tallon Kramer earned the shutout, Tyler Ghiradosi scored twice, and Jayce Weegar had a three-point night in a 6-0 drubbing of the Spokane Braves.
B.V. fired 70 shots at the Braves’ net, including 26 in the first period as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Alan Pruss, Ghiradosi, and Blake Sidoni. Braden Fuller scored the only goal in the middle frame to give B.V. a 4-0 lead, and Ghiradosi and Weegar rounded out the scoring in the third. Kramer stopped 28 shots on the night for his first shutout as a Nitehawk.
“After those three games with tough results, the guys had a great week of practice and then played very, very well,” added Jones.
On Saturday night at home, the Hawks scored five-first period goals en route to a 7-3 victory over the Leafs.
Kyle Hope, Braden Fuller, Blake Sidoni, Devin Nemes, Allan Pruss, Ryan Terpsma and Devin Ghirardosi each scored for the division-leading Nitehawks.
Kramer made 39 saves for the win, while Ostermann finished with 24 stops for the Leafs.
With the two victories the 27-8-2-2 Nitehawks remain in top spot in the Neil Murdoch division, eight points up on the Castlegar Rebels, who lost 8-2 to the Creston Valley Wildcats Friday, before bouncing back with wins over Spokane, 6-3, and Grand Forks, 5-2, on Saturday and Sunday.