The Beaver Valley Nitehawks lost a pair of games to two familiar rivals dropping a 4-3 game to their 2014 KIJHL championship rival Kamloops Storm on Saturday and a 4-1 match to the Nelson Leafs on Sunday.
The Leaf`s capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play with 59 seconds remaining in the second period when Robson Cramer picked up a loose puck on a mad goal-mouth scramble and fired it into the top corner to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead. The goal would stand up to be the winner as the Nitehawks threw everything they had at the Nelson net in the third period but could not beat Leaf netminder Brandon Locket, who stopped 36 shots on the night.
“I don’t think we played well enough,” said Nitehawks assistant coach Kevin Limbert. “I don’t think we were physical enough. This whole weekend wasn’t our best effort, and we have to play better, and we will play better.”
Nelson opened the scoring on another 5-on-3 power play at 10:47 of the first period when Darnel St. Pierre sent a perfect cross-crease pass to Rayce Miller who banged it into the open net. Hawks goalie Drake Poirier played well on the night and kept it close making a great pad save in the dying seconds of the first, one of 11 first period shots.
The Nitehawks would find the equalizer at 5:22 of the second period after Patrick Croome was sent off for boarding.
Taylor Stafford did some great work down low and sent a perfect pass from behind the net onto the stick of Ross Armour who sent it low stick side on Locket for his eighth of the season.
The tempo remained intense and physical into the third, and the Hawks would have two golden opportunities to tie it late when the Leafs were called on consecutive penalties, but the Nelson penalty kill proved too potent. The Leafs’ Austin Lindsay got the insurance marker with just over three minutes remaining and an empty netter by St. Pierre with 40 seconds to play iced it for the Leafs.
Despite outshooting the Leafs, the Hawks lost the battles in front of the net, and couldn’t bear down and finish their chances.
“We’re a young team, we’re learning, we’ve got to keep getting better. This weekend was a bit of a setback but we take the positives, and we learn a lot in these kind of games.”
The Nitehawks now drop to third spot in the Neil Murdoch division with the Castlegar Rebels rising to second place after beating the Leafs 6-4 Saturday. Four points separate first-place Nelson and fourth-place Spokane in the tight Murdoch division.
On Saturday, Kamloops came back from a 3-2 deficit in the third period to beat Beaver Valley 4-3. Keaton Gordon would notch his second goal and fourth point of the night with 6:32 left in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and give the Storm their 13th win of the season and first spot in the Okanagan division.
Mitch Foyle had a goal and an assists for the Hawks while McCoy Hauk and Ross Armour had the other B.V. markers. The Storm outshot the Nitehawks 51-45 and were coming off a 3-2 overtime win over the Castlegar Rebels the night before.