The Beaver Valley Nitehawks took over sole possession of first place in the KIJHL after beating division rival Nelson Leafs Saturday.
The Nitehawks squeaked out a 3-2 victory over the Leafs to move one point ahead in the standings but the Hawks will have two games in hand after a late Sunday game against Spokane.
Down 3-1, and the Leafs desperate for a comeback, former leading scorer Patrick Martens scored on a power play with less than three minutes to play, but despite outshooting the Hawks 12-11 in the period, Hawk goalie Mike Vlanich shut the door the rest of the way to earn the games’ first star.
Ryan Edwards and Craig Martin also moved ahead of Nelson’s Martens in the scoring race for a share of the lead. Edwards added an assist while Martin scored twice on Saturday to earn second star. Martin opened the scoring with a neat move on Nelson goalie Andrew Walton on a break away.
Colton Schell would tie the game for the Leafs early in the second frame but Martin would tip in a pass from Edwards and Chris Derochie to regain the lead.
Keenan Patershuck converted a pass from Christian Johnson and Derochie to make it 3-1 late in the third before Nelson would cut it to one.
The Leafs dropped also their game against Creston 5-2 on Friday to allow the Hawks a perch at the top of the Neil Murdoch division.
Vlanich stopped 25 of 27 Leafs shots, while Walker faced 31 Nitehawk blasts.
The Hawks next play in Creston on Friday and Castlegar on Saturday.