Ala Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, here are, “10 Things I Think, I Think,” after watching Beaver Valley take a 2-0 lead in their Eddie Murdoch Division final series with Castlegar Wednesday Night.
1. Though they are bigger, older and more talented than the Rebels, and slightly outplayed them, the Nitehawks were very fortunate in the victory, which means they are even more favoured to take the series against their toughest opponent all year.
2. Had a Castlegar clearing attempt inside two minutes left been two or three inches lower it would have worked out well for the Rebels, who instead had to kill their second delay of game of the third period when the puck cleared the fairly low glass wall at the BV rink, the 6 on 4 result allowing the Nitehawks to get the game into overtime in the first place.
3. Officiating, even by the same officials, is different in the KIJHL than it is in the BCJHL. There were several plays Wednesday that would have been automatic penalty calls in Cominco Arena but were, “play on,” events at Beaver Valley. Those in attendance seemed to think everything was normal.
4. The Rebels were hampered badly when one of their veteran leaders, a former top Nitehawk scorer, lost his cool and missed 12 minutes of action during a time in the game when his team seemed to be asserting itself.
5. The Nitehawks should not be having as much trouble as they do overcoming the Rebels. Beaver Valley is bigger, older, more talented and well coached, but have a lot of trouble hitting the net. Four of the five goals they got Wednesday were on third or fourth rebound chances and many good opportunities to score resulted in shots going wide from good shooting areas.
6. Part of point 5 is caused by the fact the Rebels have a really good goalie.
7. Even though it is a community arena in a fairly small community, nobody walks to Nitehawk games – judging by the traffic following the game, at least.
8. 50-50 draws in the valley are no more winnable for me than draws at Cominco Arena and I should be able to write off those donations.
9. The reasons why there should be a rapprochment between the Nitehawks and Smoke Eaters are very evident. Half of Beaver Valley’s roster is local kids. Not all of those will be good enough at the BCHL level, (regardless of what their parents’ believe), but many will, and more cordial relations between the two organizations would help in convincing those to compete in their home area. As well, Beaver Valley’s crowds are slightly younger than those in Trail – think parents instead of grandparents, and making it possible for them to follow Nitehawk alums as they progress, in a setting close to home, would help draw hoped-for long term supporters into Cominco Arena on game nights. Beaver Valley crowds are also way more boisterous than Trail crowds and a little more (fan, not music) noise would be welcome on Smokie game nights.
Having a Junior A team right up the road has been and will be good for the Nitehawks. They have recruited and will recruit from Smoke Eater tryouts; they have seen and will see their players move up a notch through Trail, either from exposure through AP play or by joining the BCHL roster. Scores of Nitehawk alumni have done just that over the years, to good effect. As well, not being seen (at least by some) to favour out-of-area teams in recommendations to their young stars would improve Beaver Valley’s image, and regular season attendance at Nitehawk games.
10. I am not wishing them ill, but am kind of hoping the Nitehawks don’t sweep these finals. Be nice to have another chance to watch these teams in action in the Valley.