Nitehawks inch up standings

B.V. takes two from division rivals to move into second place.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks took sole possession of second place in the KIJHL’s Neil Murdoch division with home wins over division rivals on the weekend.

The Hawks eked out a bizarre 5-4 victory over the Spokane Braves on Saturday, and shut down the Castlegar Rebels 3-1 on Friday night to move one point ahead of the Rebels in the standings.

The Hawks and Braves did all their scoring in the middle frame, scoring nine goals in 16 minutes to make the match 5-4.

After Spokane took a boarding penalty midway through the second, the Hawks’ Fraser Stang would net what proved to be the winner, taking a pass from Sheldon Hubbard and firing a shot by Spokane goalie John Manlow.

Spokane got on the board first on a Paxton Malone goal 90 seconds into the second, but the Hawks would surge ahead scoring four times in less than four minutes to take a 4-1 lead. Michael Bell tied it at 17:25 with assists going to Sam Barker and Fraser Stang before Fruitvale’s Sam Swanson put the Hawks ahead on the PP finishing a good passing play from Keenan Patershuck and Ryan Edwards. Then at 16:04, Bell would get his second of the night and ninth on the season, converting a Mitch Foyle pass, before Foyle would get one of his own just 22 seconds later.

Spokane would close the gap to two on a Koler Kostanaux marker, but Stang’s blast made it 5-2 just minutes later. The Braves’ Sean Collins would score twice before the period was out.

However, B.V. goalie Brett Clark would shut the door in the third as Spokane threatened; outshooting B.V. 12-8 in the period, but could not beat Clark who returned to the lineup Saturday after being out with injury for most of the month.

The Nitehawks outshot the Braves 47-33 on the night.

On Friday against the Rebels, goaltender Grayson Sharpe won his first game between the pipes for B.V. and Swanson scored twice including the winning goal as B.V. hung on for a 3-1 victory.

Swanson netted the winner at 4:07 of the second period converting a pass from Russell Mortlock and Hubbard, to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead. Bell would finish the Hawks scoring making it 3-0 before the period was out.  The Rebels would draw within two on the power play late in the third, but that was as close as they would get. B.V. outshot the Rebels 40-35 on the night, and moved one point ahead of the Rebels in the division standing, yet the 10-4-0-0 Hawks still have three games in hand.

Beaver Valley hosts the Grand Forks Border Bruins at 7 p.m. tonight at the B.V. Arena. The Bruins sit in fourth place in the Neil Murdoch division with 6-7-1-0 record and are led by 19-year-old center Jackson Purvis who has netted 25 points in 14 games this season.  The Bruins are backstopped by Dominic Stadnyk who played three games for the Nitehawks last season.

The 20-year-old North Van native has posted a respectable 2.79 goals against average and a .923 save percentage in nine starts this season.

In their only previous meeting this season, on Sept. 20, the Hawks beat the Bruins 5-4.