The Beaver Valley Nitehawks chances to win the Neil Murdoch division were doused on the weekend as the Hawks dropped a pair of games to the division champion Castlegar Rebels.
Following 4-2 and 2-0 wins over the Nitehawks Friday and Saturday, the Rebels clinched the title with a 10-4 humbling of the Grand Forks Border Bruins Sunday.
The Rebels now enjoy a six-point lead over Nelson and Beaver Valley who are tied for second spot with two games remaining in the Neil Murdoch division.
The Leafs also dropped its two games on the weekend, a 5-4 overtime loss to the Revelstoke Grizzlies and a 5-2 setback to the Sicamous Eagles Friday.
The Leafs close out the season with a home-and-home against Castlegar this weekend, while the Nitehawks face Spokane in its final home-and-home series.
Connor Beauchamp was the game’s first star on Saturday in Fruitvale, with a brilliant 44 save performance and his sixth shut out en route to the 2-0 win.
Jamie Vlanich scored the winning goal on a power play with 2:17 to go in the first period, while Stuart Walton added the insurance marker with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game.
After a holding call to Nitehawk defenceman Arie Postmus, the Rebels wasted no time, as Hunter Jenerou sent a nice cross-ice pass to Vlanich who potted his 18th goal of the season for th 1-0 lead.
Despite nine power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 midway through the second frame, the Hawks potent offence could not solve Beauchamp.
The spirited matchup saw 94 minutes of penalties issued, including two misconducts late in the game to Vlanich and Walton.
Jarrod Schamerhorn took the loss in the B.V. Net, stopping 25 of 27 shots on the night, good for second-star honours.
In Friday’s game, it was scoreless until a quick pair of goals by the Rebels’ Quinn Klimchuk and Walton made it 2-0 going into the second.
Taylor Stafford got the NiteHawks on the board early, only to see the two-goal bulge restored by Walton again at 17:21. Travis Wellman would close out the scoring with about two minutes to go in the second. Nick Perez found his range with a third period marker to bring his group within a pair, but that’s as close as they’d get.
Shots on goal were even at 30 apiece with Jordan Gluck getting the win in net for the Rebels, and Zach Perehudoff taking the loss. The visitors went 0 for 6 with the man advantage while the hosts were 1 for 4.
The final two games will count for something, as the Leafs and Hawks vie for home-ice advantage in their inevitable opening round playoff series. The Rebels will host the fourth-place Spokane Braves in the first round of the Neil Murdoch division playoffs.
Hawks Notes: The Nitehawks leading scorer Dallas Calvin scored his first goal in the BCHL as he AP’d for the Vernon Vipers Sunday in a 3-2 win over Victoria Grizzlies.
Calvin scored on a 5-on-3 power play, to put the Vipes up 1-0.
Another Greater Trail product, Craig Martin made it 2-0 just over a minute later, while Castlegar’s Ryan Renz assisted on the winning marker.