KIJHL – Hawks solidify season roster

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks downsized slightly this week, but also shored up its back end with a couple veteran additions.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks downsized slightly this week, but also shored up its back end with a couple veteran additions.

The Hawks sent defenceman Jayce Polman-Tuin, 18, forward Luke Jones, 18, and goalie, Dominic Stadnyk, 19, to the Grand Forks Border Bruins for the ever-popular, future considerations, and purchased the rights of goaltender Travis Beekhuizen from Columbia Valley.

“It’s unfortunate because it was a numbers game,” said Hawks assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto. “We needed to start getting the team settled in and lower our numbers a bit so guys were playing and not sitting in the stands.”

Stadnyk started just two games for the Hawks and will get an opportunity to play more in Grand Forks rather than back up proven veteran Zach Perehudoff in B.V.

Beekhuizen is also a known commodity as he was on the Hawks roster at the start of last season, but was moved when goalie Mike Vlanich returned to the team.

“We’re happy to have Beeks back in the fold here,” said Cominotto. “It was unfortunate circumstances for him last year, he’s a great kid and that’s one of the reasons we had to bring him back.”

The Hawks also had to make room on its roster for the return of veteran defenceman Derek Lashuk last week who will add depth and character to an already impressive defensive core.

“We did have to make a little bit of room getting Derek back,” said Cominotto. “But getting Derek back is huge, I mean you can’t turn a guy like Derek away with his skill level and his caliber of playing, he just increases our depth 10-fold.”

The Nitehawks will face their former mates Friday night at the Nest, and are looking to exact some vengeance after the Bruins spoiled their home-opener with a 3-2 OT win. While the Bruins have only the one win, they have improved markedly since last season and are no longer an automatic two points.

The North Okanagan Knights will storm the Beaver Valley Arena on Saturday, in what is sure to be one of the Nitehawks greatest tests early in the season.

The Knights lead the Doug Birks Division with an 8-2-0-1 record and are led by Tanner Burns up front who is fifth in scoring with eight goals and eight assists and Morgan Johnston who scored a hat trick in a 6-1 win over Sicamous Saturday. North Okanagan is also backstopped by Dustin Nikkel who sports a 2.21 GGA and a .942 save percentage.

“North Oks got a great team, they’re the top team in the league or close to it,” says Cominotto, adding that the Nitehawks will have to improve on  a 2-1 loss to Kamloops on Saturday if they expect to compete with the Knights.

“This weekend we set the same challenge, to make sure we are the hardest working team on the ice.”