The Beaver Valley Nitehawks soared to another undefeated October with a 7-2 humbling of the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday at the Hawks’ Nest.
The victory was the Hawks’ ninth straight through the month and the productive win over the Border Bruins left a much better taste in the mouth of Hawks assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto than the 5-3 win a lacklustre Hawks team pulled out on Tuesday over the Castlegar Rebels.
“I absolutely think this was a bounce back game,” said Cominotto. “We weren’t very good on Tuesday night and we knew it. So to come out and have an effort like this is exactly what we needed.”
B.V. forward Morgan Peace’s first goal of the season proved to be the winner, when linemate Aiden Jenner won the battle for the puck in the Bruins corner and found Peace at the right hash mark. The Trail native wired a snap shot over the glove of goalie Ross King to chase the Bruins goalie and give the Hawks a 3-1 lead at 17:42 of the second period.
The Hawks victory also heralded the return of defenceman Dylan Kent and the acquisition of d-man Austin Miller from the Sicamous Eagles. Kent, a Beaumont, Alta. native, was a regular blueliner for the Nitehawks last season, and played five games with the Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to start this season.
“We got Dylan back and he was a big part of our team last year,” said Cominotto. “He brings a lot of experience and a steady presence and he’s pretty physical at times, moves the puck well so it’s nice seeing him back.”
The six-foot-one, 195 pound Miller had an assist in eight games with the Eagles this year and played 43 games with the Eagles in 2016-17.
“We heard a lot of great things about him, he’s got a lot of potential, and we saw tonight he moves the puck really well.”
The relief was timely, as regular d-men Kevan McBean and Karsten Jang were sidelined with injury Friday, and Major Midget Kootenay Ice defenceman Kody Stewart mobilized as an affiliate player.
The additions also allowed Sam Swanson to return to centre after spending most of the season on defence. The Hawks’ captain didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard, giving B.V. a 1-0 lead three minutes into the opening frame.
“We’re pretty happy where we are at right now. Obviously we were waiting, and had a few things that were up in the air, and had to make sure we got some closure on that.”
And despite the shorthanded start to the season, B.V. amassed an impressive 12-3-0-1 record to lie a point behind the first-place 13-3-0-0 Nelson Leafs in the Neil Murdoch Division standings with a game in hand.
“That’s a credit to the guys,” added Cominotto. “We had four playing ‘D’ and everyone pitched in. It was a total team effort, and we managed to get back on a winning streak here, now we just hope to keep going.”
Grand Forks Reece Tambellini tied the game, jamming in a power play goal at 11:25, but Aiden Jenner took a feed from Tommy McConnachie in the slot and backhanded it in to restore the lead for good.
After Peace made it 3-1, Kent showed his offensive prowess taking a pass from Dylan Heppler at the right dot and fired a low shot stick side to beat Grand Forks goalie Knute Loe.
The Bruins showed some jump in the second period firing 12 shots at Hawks goalie Owen Sikkes, and finally beat him with just a dozen seconds to play to make it 4-2 heading into the third.
B.V. dominated the final frame, with special teams stepping up. First Bradley Ross scored a wrap around goal on the power play, and Blake Sidoni and McConnachie each tallied short-handed markers for the 7-2 final.
Beaver Valley outshot Grand Forks 33-22 and went 2-for-5 on the power play while the Bruins were 1-for-6. Peace (1G, 1A) earned Player of the Game for the Hawks and Cole Kapak was named PoG for the Bruins.
The Hawks play a pair of home games next, hosting the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Friday at the B.V. Arena and the Fernie Ghostriders on Saturday.