The Beaver Valley Nitehawks claimed Game 1 in the Neil Murdoch division final against the Castlegar Rebels Monday night with a hard fought 3-2 victory.
The Nitehawks Ryan Edwards scored the winning goal midway through the third after Castlegar’s Diego Bartlett was sent off for high sticking.
Edwards took a pass from Connor Brown-Maloski and fired it by Jordan Gluck, giving him five goals and 10 assists to lead all playoff scorers.
As expected, the game was a hard-hitting, tight-checking affair, with both teams tentative in the early going.
Castlegar would get on the board first when Bartlett netted his third goal of the playoffs to put the Rebels up 1-0 less than two-minutes in.
The Hawks’ Michael Bell tied the game at 6:06, converting a set up from Jordan Magico, and Brandon Butlin
It remained 1-1 for most of the middle frame until Riley Brandt took a pass from Magico and snapped one by Gluck with just 20 seconds to play in the period to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
Edwards goal would make it 3-1, but the Rebels replied two minutes later when Darren Medeiros wristed a quick shot from the right circle by Hawks netminder Zach Perehudoff.
The Hawks shut the Rebels down after that, played disciplined hockey, and despite a pulled goalie and late-game pressure, were able to hang on for the victory.
The Nitehawks outshot the Rebels 25-19 in the game, and went 1-for-5 on the power play, but more importantly their penalty kill was a perfect 5-for-5 on the night.
Game 3 goes at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Beaver Valley Arena.
Game 1 goes tonight in Fernie.