The KIJHL Beaver Valley Nitehawks hit the highway this weekend visiting the Okanagan Shuswap conference with three dates against Doug Birk division teams: Chase, Sicamous, and Revelstoke.
The three-game extended road trip is the first of the season for B.V.’s rookie-laden team and one the players are looking forward to.
“We had a trip to Golden and Columbia Valley and it’s just an overnighter, so adding the extra day certainly puts more wear and tear on your body,” said Hawks coach Terry Jones. “But we look at it positively. The guys are excited about getting away and being together and in a hotel room and all that other fun stuff so we look forward to it for sure.”
The Nitehawks are coming off a split with the Kimberley Dynamiters last weekend, with a 4-3 win Friday but suffered a 7-1 beating in Kimberley on Saturday. After the win, a combination of injury and overconfidence may have affected the young crew.
“There’s no excuses, I think we got wore down a little bit,” said Jones. “Kimberley is a really good hockey team and when you play a good hockey team you have to play a 60 minute game, but I think we played about a 10-minute game.”
The Hawks were without veteran forwards Kyle Hope and Sam Swanson, and rookie Hayden Chase, and have been playing Jacob Boyczuk on defence to cover for an injured McKoy Hauk. Fortunately, Swanson and Hauk will be back in the line up this weekend and more importantly Boyczuk will resume his forward role.
“We have a couple of minor things but the good thing is we have six healthy ‘D’ now, and that makes a difference. We had Jake Boyczuk playing defence and Jake did a great job but we want him to be playing forward and causing a ruckus up front.”
The Hawks face the Chase Heat on Friday for the second time this year, having won the first match 6-5 in overtime Oct. 4. The Heat sit in fourth place in the division with a 3-5-1-2 record, three points behind both Sicamous and Revelstoke, the two teams the Hawks play on Saturday and Sunday.
Chase is coming off a big 3-2 win over the league-leading Osoyoos Coyotes handing them just their second loss of the season, while Revelstoke Grizzlies and Sicamous Eagles are much improved from last year.
“I don’t think you can base anything on last year,” said Jones. “Everybody seems to be knocking everybody off. There are no easy games . . . and we know we have our work cut out for us and it should be exciting.”
In the Hawks’ win over Chase, Brayden Horcoff had a three-point game while Tyler Hartman scored two goals. The Heat’s goalie Mike Bruyere was the difference in net stopping 52 shots before Ross Armour ended it in OT.
Mitch Foyle continues to lead the Hawks in scoring with eight goals and 17 points, including 10 points in four games prior to the loss to Kimberley, while Trail native Armour has also stepped it up with six goals over that time.
Beaver Valley’s next home games go Oct. 24 against the Golden Rockets and Oct. 25 versus the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at the B.V. Arena.