KIJHL: Hawks take down Rebels

The Nitehawks gained some breathing room atop the Murdoch division standings with a 5-1 victory on Friday.

After dropping back-to-back 3-2 games to the Grand Forks Border Bruins last week, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks rebounded with a pair of massive wins against Neil Murdoch division rival Castlegar Rebels on the weekend.

The Nitehawks gained some breathing room atop the Murdoch division standings with a 5-1 victory on Friday at the Hawks Nest and a 5-2 win on Saturday in Castlegar to give the 16-4-1-1 Hawks a five point lead over the 14-8-1-0 Rebels.

“When you lose, you start questioning what you’re doing, how you’re doing, and everything like that,” said Jones. “What we looked at as a team, we started identifying everything from our leadership to things we had to focus on, so it was a good thing. And the other thing is we just played a lot more determined, hard working, committed game both nights.”

Despite the absence of Sam Swanson, Braden Fuller, Lyle Frank, Ryan Neil (injuries) and Dylan Hepler (suspension) from the line up, the Hawks dominated the Rebels Friday, then road goalie Billy Gorn to the win on Saturday.

“The 5-2 win, I would say, was all Billy Gorn,” said Jones. “Billy was outstanding in the first two periods especially … and much like the Grand Forks goalie did against us, he kept us in the game and in the third period we started playing finally the way we normally play.”

Michael Pruss scored twice and Brett Roberts broke a 2-2 tie for the winner as the Hawks erupted for three goals in the third period on their way to the 5-2 win. Roberts scored two minutes into the final frame on the power play finishing a set up from Tyler Hartman and Jace Weegar to put the Hawks up 3-2. The goal was the Grande Prairie defenceman’s fourth of the season and second in as many games since returning to the team last week.

Pruss put the Hawks up twice in the match, giving them a 1-0 lead at 17:34 of the first and a 2-1 lead with 8:30 left in the middle frame before Nick Headrick tied it at the 4:09 mark. After Roberts’ winner, Jaxon Joseph and Coleton Dawson then tallied goals 40 seconds apart to put the game away for the Hawks. Gorn picked up the win in net stopping 32 shots, while Joseph McLeod suffered the loss with 21 of 26 saves in the Rebel goal.

The Hawks also welcomed Drake Poirer back to the line up after a lengthy illness. With the goalie tandem seemingly solidified, the Hawks can now concentrate less on the back end.

“I was really pleased with how Billy played this weekend, and he certainly solidified the position. Drake is finally back from health now, and able to start playing as well.”

Gorn has been very good for the Nitehawks since joining the team last month from the Campbell River Storm. In five games he has a 3-1-1 record with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

On Friday, the Nitehawks dominated outshooting the Rebels 44-26 on their way to the 5-1 victory. Jace Weegar scored once and added an assist, while Hartman, Michael and Allan Pruss had two assists in the game. The Hawks had five different scorers with Joseph, Devin Nemes, Roberts, and Jake Yuris providing the offence, while Tayden Woods tallied the Rebels’ marker.

The Hawks next game goes Friday in Nelson against the Leafs at 7 p.m. followed by a tilt against the Border Bruins in Grand Forks Saturday.

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