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Kootenay Conference Final: B.V. Nitehawks drop two to Fernie Ghostriders

Fernie Ghostriders take Games 1 and 2 with 3-1 and 6-4 wins on the road against the Nitehawks

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks will have to rally after dropping Games 1 and 2 of the Kootenay Conference Final to the Fernie Ghostriders on the weekend.

Despite outshooting the Ghostriders in both games, it was Fernie who came out on top in a close 3-2 match in Game 1 and a 6-4 victory in Game 2.

The Ghostriders jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead in Game 2, with Ben Skarson scoring the first two goals on high-slot shots through a screen that eluded Nitehawks goalie Connor Stojan.

Skarsen then assisted on Taylor Haggerty’s tally with 11:49 to play in the opening frame, and chased Stojan from the crease prematurely.

The Ghostriders kept the momentum in the second with Cole Fournier firing a point shot through a crowd that beat Landan Uzeloc high blocker 5:20 in for a power play goal and a 4-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Eli Neilsen’s tallied another power-play goal on a similar shot from the blue line that beat a screened Uzeloc low stick side.

Beaver Valley finally beat Fernie goalie Levi Hall when Lohgan Nimmo fired a setup from Beau Manegre under the goalie’s blocker to make it 5-1.

Haggerty scored his second of the game at 8:27 for a 6-1 lead, before Tim Jozsa cut the lead to 6-2 with 3:33 left in the middle frame.

Beaver Valley staged a late comeback in the third that proved too little, too late, with a shorthanded goal from Lucas Gartner with 3 minutes remaining, and Nathan Simm scored his third of the playoff 61 seconds later for the 6-4 final.

The Nitehawks outshot the Ghostriders 44-32, went scoreless on three power plays, and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.

In Game 1 on Friday, the Nitehawks pressed but could not finish as Ghostriders goalie Nick Kunyk made 40 saves in the 3-2 Fernie victory.

Ben Skarsen gave Fernie a 1-0 lead 2:14 in, but Boris Hristov tied it midway through the opening frame.

Fournier put the Ghostriders up 2-1 early in the second, but Hristov answered again with his sixth of the playoff at 7:08.

However, with one second remaining in the second period, Fournier beat Stojan on an unassisted effort with what proved to be the game winning goal.

Fernie shutdown the Nitehawks in the third, holding on for the 3-2 victory.

B.V. outshot Fernie 42-28, and neither team scored on the power play with the Nitehawks going 0-for-6 and Ghostriders 0-for-4.

In the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference final, the Revelstoke Grizzlies evened the series with a 4-2 victory in Game 2, after falling 3-2 in overtime to the Princeton Posse.

B.V. will travel to Fernie for Game 3 at 7 p.m. MT (6 p.m. PT) on Tuesday, March 26 and Game 4 is scheduled for the same time on Wednesday. Game 5 is set for Fruitvale at 7 p.m. PT at the B.V. Arena.

Jim Bailey

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