The Revelstoke Grizzlies lost to the Kamloops Storm, 3-2, Friday night putting the title out of their reach as they remained 10 points back of the Hawks with only four games to play.
The Hawks put an exclamation point on the title, with two convincing wins of their own on the weekend. Saturday the team dispatched an uninspired Golden Rockets team 6-1 before dismantling the Spokane Braves Sunday 11-2.
“It was definitely a statement game for us, I mean it’s something we wanted to make sure we came out and played hard, played our style of hockey and I think we did that,” said Nitehawk assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto.
The Hawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to two power play goals by Max Flanagan and Dallas Calvin.
The pair would account for 10 points in the game, Flanagan collecting the hat trick with two helpers and Calvin netting two and adding three assists.
The Hawks didn’t let up in the second period either, scoring five goals to make it 9-2 heading into the third.
“The guys are dialed in and they know what is at stake,” said Cominotto. “When you have an opportunity to send a message to your first round playoff opponent, you’re going to make sure this was the game we wanted and make sure they’re ready for it.”
Tyler Collins also had a great game for the Nitehawks picking up two goals and two assists, while Chris Derochie also had a four-point night with a goal and three helpers.
The Hawks have only lost one game in regulation since Christmas and three in OT.
The team is putting together one of their best season’s ever with 41 wins, only six losses and three overtime losses so far this season and their first league title since 2004.
“It’s something that we haven’t done in a few years, and it’s something you can’t take for granted. There are so many teams in the league now and there’s so many good teams that every year it will be somebody different, so it is nice to accomplish that . . . it’s just a credit to the guys for working so hard.”
The Nitehawks face Spokane in the first round of the playoffs starting Feb. 24.
Their record against the Braves this season is a definitive eight wins and no losses.
But before they meet in the playoffs, they’ll finish off the season with a home-and-home in Nelson this weekend. The Nitehawks final home game goes Saturday at the B. V. Arena at 7:30 p.m.
A few Nitehawks should be up for award consideration this year.
Craig Martin should be a lock for rookie of the year. The 16-year-old Fruitvale native leads the league in goals with 46 and is currently third in the league in scoring.
Linemates Derochie and Ryan Edwards are also vying for the scoring title. With two games remaining, Derochie sits three points back of Kimberley’s Richard Hubscher while Martin is eight points back and Edwards nine.
All three players along with Dallas Calvin could also be considered for MVP.
Arie Postmus and Nick Perez deserve best defenceman consideration, both have solidified the Hawks defence and contributed offensively this year.
Leading the Nitehawks to the league regular season title with one of the best season records in recent history should garner Terry Jones and his staff coach of the year honours.