The Spokane Braves dug in their blades, determined not to go down without a fight as they stole a game from the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Tuesday in the first round of the KIJHL playoffs.
Down three games to none and facing elimination, the Braves defeated the Nitehawks 3-2 to force a game five back in Fruitvale tonight.
The Nitehawks dominated the game, outshooting Spokane 51-26 but could not solve Braves netminder Branden Amatto.
“Their goalie played really well,” said Nitehawk special assistant Dave Pasin. “Our effort was pretty good but our finishing touch just wasn’t there.”
Dylan Tape broke a 2-2 tie at 13:49 of the third period to net the winner, while the Hawks peppered Amatto with 21 shots in the third alone, yet could not get the equalizer.
Craig Martin scored 42 seconds into the game, converting a pass from Chris Derochie and Ryan Edwards to put the Hawks up 1-0. However, the Braves replied with goals from Uriah Machuga and Nick Farmer to enter the second period with a 2-1 lead. Scott Davidson set up Max Flanagan to tie the game with 2:24 left in the second but Amatto stopped everything after that.
Dallas Calvin received a game misconduct on a dubious call at the end of the game and will miss tonight’s match. The series moves to Fruitvale with the Nitehawks and Braves facing off at 7 p.m. at the Beaver Valley Arena.
The Castlegar Rebels left the Nelson Leafs teetering on the brink of elimination with a thrilling 7-6 overtime win at the Nelson Community Complex Tuesday.
Down 6-5, with only a minute left in the third period, the Leafs pulled their goalie for an extra attacker in one last effort to send it to overtime. With 35 seconds in regulation time, Patrick Martens jumped on a loose puck in a mad scramble in front of the Rebel net and buried it to send the game to OT.
However, Scott Morisseau ended the game with 1:05 left in overtime when he slid the puck neatly under Leaf goalie Andrew Walton.
The two teams scored nine goals in the first period as the Rebels headed into the second with a 5-4 lead.
“Once they got to a quick lead, we didn’t fold our tent, we chipped away and clawed our way back and were able to put it into overtime. Unfortunately we didn’t get the breaks that we wanted,” Leaf’s coach Stu Linnen told the Nelson Star. “It’s a huge loss… now it’s a must win situation.”
The two teams go at it again tonight at the Castlegar Complex at 7:30 p.m.
In other KIJHL action: The Fernie Ghostriders defused the Golden Rockets winning 3-2 in overtime Tuesday to take the series 4-0. The Kimberley Dynamiters beat Creston Valley 5-0 to go up in that series 3-1. While in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference, Kelowna tied the series at two with a 6-5 overtime win against the Osoyoos Coyotes. Likewise the Penticton Lakers won two games at home to even the series with Princeton Posse and the Sicamous Eagles took a 3-1 stranglehold on their series with Revelstoke Grizzlies with a convincing 6-1 victory. The North Okanagan Knights tied their series with Kamloops Storm after a 3-0 shutout win. All teams are in action tonight.
With files from the Nelson Star.