The Beaver Valley Nitehawks got off to a rough start to the Neil Murdoch Division final Monday night.
The Nitehawks couldn’t find the answer for Nelson Leafs goalie Anderson Violette in Game 1 of the Murdoch Division final at the B.V. Arena as the Nelson goalie stopped 32 shots in backstopping the Leafs to a 6-0 shutout victory.
The Nitehawks struggled mightily defensively, and were without two key blueliners in Brock Wallace and Luke Woodrow, who were sitting out a game suspension that carried over from Game 4 of the Castlegar series.
Despite the missing pieces, B.V. couldn’t capitalize on some good early chances, while the Leafs seemed to score on every opportunity.
Nelson Leafs forward Shawn Campbell scored the game winner with a shorthanded goal at 17:07 of the opening frame to give the Leafs an early lead. Campbell Intercepted a pass in the Hawks zone and surprised B.V. goalie Hunter Young with a quick shot over the glove.
Reid Wilson made it 2-0 at 13:50. The Castlegar native broke into the Hawks zone, made a slick move past the defenceman and beat Young blocker side.
Five minutes later, Brandon Costa burst down the right wing and buried his shot for a 3-0 first period lead with 8:47 to play.
B.V. had trouble generating any sustained pressure, the best chances coming on a partial breakaway by Bradley Ross and a power-play chance for Simon Nemethy on a rebound in front in the final seconds of period one.
The Leafs’ Wilson scored his second of the night on a pretty pass from Tyler Badger at the Hawks blueline. Badger hit Wilson at full speed and he wired a shot top-shelf for a 4-0 lead at 13:53 of the second period.
Violette stymied Ross on a breakaway yet again, this time with the right pad on a deke to the stick side, at the midway mark of the middle frame.
The Nelson goalie came up big again, stopping Nemethy point blank with a glove save with six minutes left.
A minute later, another giveaway in the Nitehawks end gave Leafs David Sanchez a free pass and he made no mistake firing it past Young and chasing the goalie from the B.V. net.
Kevin Engman came on in relief, and stoned Tyler Pisiak on a breakaway late in the second, but gave up a power-play goal to Campbell with five seconds to play for a 6-0 Leafs win.
Nelson outshot Beaver Valley 42-32 and went 1-for-9 on the power play, while B.V. was 0-for-4.
Violette earned games star for Nelson and Jarred Macasso for the Nitehawks.
Game 2 of the Nitehawks-Leafs division final went Tuesday night at the Beaver Valley Arena but the score was unavailable at press time. Game 3 goes in Nelson on Thursday at 7 p.m.