The Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ 15-game winning streak came to an abrupt end on Saturday when they lost to the Spokane Braves 5-4 at the Beaver Valley Arena.
Despite outshooting the Braves 57-24, B.V. fell behind early and couldn’t complete the comeback suffering just their first loss to a 7-21-0-1 Braves team in seven games this season.
While remarkable, the 15-straight victories are a long way from the 39-game win streak enjoyed over two seasons by the ’97-98 Nitehawks. Prior to the loss Saturday, Nitehawks coach Terry Jones talked about the streak and its significance or lack of significance to the team.
“We are on a good run for sure,” said B.V. coach Terry Jones. “The group hasn’t really talked about it that much however we do know it exists. Our leadership group has been extremely focused on preparing for each game, not really worrying about anything except that one game.”
Elliot Plourde opened the scoring for Spokane three minutes and 29 seconds into the first period, before Tyler Hartman netted his ninth of the season for B.V. to tie it on a Blake Sidoni setup at 11:37.
However, 38 seconds later, Spokane’s Niko Corsaro restored the one goal lead and the score remained 2-1 heading into the second with a 25-12 shot advantage for the Nitehawks. Nevertheless, the Braves made it 3-1 less than a minute into the middle frame.
The Nitehawks stormed back to tie it with Mitch Foyle finishing off a play from Hartman and Sidoni, then Dylan Heppler tied it with 2:15 to play in the period. But before the second frame was done, Spokane’s Valeri Slavkin and Carter Jones tallied two more to make it 5-3 heading into the third.
Beaver Valley came in waves in the third period but only Nolan Percival beat J.J. Pichette with 1:24 left in regulation to make the final 5-4. Pichette’s 53-save performance earned him player of the game for Spokane while Sidoni’s two assists gave him the nod for B.V. The Nitehawks went 0-for-4 on the power play, with Spokane going 0-for-6.
The streak’s unlikely ending came from a Braves team that B.V. has beaten six times this season and 12 in a row dating back to Oct. 3, 2015 the last time the Hawks lost to Spokane. Despite the end to the streak, as Jones says, an early season win streak does not a season make.
“We just want to continue to focus on playing each game as a separate entity, playing with passion and desire to be our best, and to continue to improve every day. We are enjoying our success however we would like to have a streak like this sometime in March. Our goal is to be playing our best at that time.”
Beaver Valley will look to get back on track next weekend when they take on the Border Bruins in Grand Forks on Friday, then return to the Hawks Nest Saturday for a tilt against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at 7:30 p.m.