The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are due, at least when it comes to facing the Kimberley Dynamiters in the KIJHL Kootenay Conference final.
The Hawks and Nitros will meet for the third consecutive year in a conference final that saw the Dynamiters sweep the Hawks last season and win in five games in 2015. This year, the Nitehawks are looking for a different outcome.
“I think going into it they’re a very different team and I think we’re a different team, so even though there’s a past rivalry, there’s a lot of players that are different, and I think we just want to focus on this year and not really focus what’s happened in the past,” said Nitehawks coach and GM Terry Jones.
The Nitehawks swept the Leafs in the Neil Murdoch Division final on Saturday, while the Dynamiters knocked off the top seed in the Eddie Murdoch Division, Creston Valley Thunder Cats, in six games with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.
The rest helped the Hawks whose injuries have mounted, and Jones says that defenceman McKoy Hauck, out since the end of February, will be back in the lineup tonght, while Blake Sidoni and Aiden Browell remain day-to-day.
The Dynamiters defenceman James Farmer has been a standout in the playoffs and leads the Nitros with 19 points in 12 playoff matches, with Nolan Kurylo and Joe Karpyshyn leading forwards with 15 and 13 points respectively.
“Those three are the guys that have really been hot for them, so we know we have to focus on them, and I think we have to focus on staying out of the penalty box,” said Jones. “We have done some scouting, and we saw them at the end of the year and they gave it to us pretty good so we’ve got to be ready for them. They have a good team and a good goaltender, and it’s going to take our best to beat them.”
The Nitehawks won 2-of-3 against the Dynamiters in the regular season’s series, their only loss a 6-3 setback in the penultimate game of the season. B.V. is poised to make a statement after finishing atop the KIJHL this season to earn home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, while Kimberley faltered midway through the season to finish behind Creston in the Murdoch Division.
“We have to play a complete 60 minutes and our home crowd has been really good for us, no question,” added Jones. “It has been a great year of support at the rink and we just look forward to being ready and just play our best.”
Beaver Valley faces off against Kimberley at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Beaver Valley Arena, and at the same time and place on Saturday