In Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) play, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks are hands down favourites to sweep a pair of games this weekend against the Princeton Posse and Grand Forks Border Bruins.
Both the Bruins and Posse have struggled this season with the 4-9-0-0 Posse lingering in fourth place in the Okanagan division while the Border Bruins are in the same position in the Neil Murdoch division with a 4-9-0-2 record.
The Posse are coming off an 8-0 loss to Summerland Steam on Sunday, and haven’t won a game since Sept. 26, a 6-2 win over Nelson, losing their last seven in a row. Grand Forks, meanwhile, shut out the Spokane Braves on Sunday, 3-0, after suffering a 6-4 loss to B.V. At home Saturday.
While their present status is unenviable, the future looks bright for both teams. Their respective rosters are riddled with young talent, the Bruins carrying 16 rookies while the Posse are riding with 14 first year players including both goalies.
The Border Bruins leading scorer is 17-year-old Calgary native Shane Pluto who scored twice in the 6-4 loss to the Hawks on Saturday, while Princeton’s 16-year-old defenceman Sunhil Sahota from Merritt is their third top scorer with two goals and seven points. Sahota anchors a competent defence, backstopped by six-foot-four goaltender Zakery Babin. The Surrey product has played all but one game for the Posse, and has a 3.80 goals against average with a respectable .904 save percentage.
Meanwhile, Beaver Valley, 11-2-0-0, remains a point ahead of the 10-3-1-0 Castlegar Rebels in the Neil Murdoch division standings with a game in hand, and have won four in a row since back-to-back losses to Summerland and Spokane.
Hawks forward Braden Fuller leads the team with six goals and 12 assists for eighth spot in the KIJHL scoring race. Not far behind is fellow 20-year-old Jace Weegar whose hot hand has earned five points in the past two games giving him seven goals and 16 points in 11 games.
The Nitehawks are still searching for another netminder, although Drake Poirier, since the loss of Brandon Wells to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, has won three in a row, allowing just five goals on 71 shots, for a .930 save percentage, and 1.67 goals against average.
The puck drop for the Posse and Border Bruins games on Friday and Saturday goes at 7:30 p.m.