It didn’t take long for Beaver Valley Nitehawks defenceman Jake Yuris to make an impact.
Yuris scored once and added an assist to lift the Hawks to a 4-3 victory over Neil Murdoch co-division leading Castlegar Rebels on Saturday night in Castlegar.
The Nitehawks’ Game Star played in just his third match for the Hawks after being released from the Trail Smoke Eaters last month. Yuris joins another former Smoke Eater, Karsten Jang, who was named Game Star the previous night in a 2-1 loss to the Nelson Leafs, on the Hawks back end.The addition of Yuris and Jang is a welcome boost to a Nitehawks defensive corps that has suffered from injury for most of the season.
Hawks leading scorer Dylan Heppler scored the winner in the second 3-on-3 overtime period, taking a pass from Kevan McBean and beating Rebels goalie Tanner Douglas to put the Hawks up for the first time in the game.
The win leaves the Nithawks 11 points back of Nelson and Castlegar who are deadlocked atop the division with 53 points each.
The Rebels John Moeller put the host up 1-0 at 10:29 of the first period, but the Nitehawks answered right back when Yuris finished a setup from Bradley Ross and Morgan Peace to tie it 37 seconds later.
Shawn Campbell restored the one goal lead at 6:48 of the first, but again the Nitehawks struck back just over a minute later on a Ross tally from Peace and Yuris.
The Rebels outshot B.V. 18-7 in the period but solid play from B.V. rookie goalie Liam Coulter kept the Hawks in the game.
The Nitehawks penalty kill got a workout in the second period as the Hawks killed three minor penalties in a 10 minute span, but Edward Lindsey put the Rebels up 3-2 scoring an even-strength goal at 9:29.
B.V. refused to fold as defenceman Dylan Kent wired his fifth goal of the season past Douglas with 2:47 to play to force overtime, and set up Heppler’s winner.
Peace added two assists for the Hawks, while Ross scored once and set up one.
The Rebels outshot B.V. 38-28 and went 0-for-7 on the power play, while the Hawks were 0-for-2.
On Friday in Fruitvale, the Nelson Leafs skated to a 2-1 victory over the Hawks. The back and forth match up was decided by Nicholas Wihak 6:49 into the third period scoring his sixth of the season on a setup from Zack Morey and Sawyer Hunt.
Justin Podgorenko put the Leafs up 1-0 midway through the second period, and 63 seconds after Wihak made it 2-0, the Hawks’ Damon Kramer converted a pass from Yuris to draw B.V. to within one. But that was as close as the Hawks came despite pulling goalie Coulter in the final minute for the extra attacker.
Beaver Valley outshot Nelson 29-24 going 0-for-2 on the power play and 0-for-1 on the penalty kill.
The Nitehawks next game goes Tuesday at the B.V. Arena against the Castlegar Rebels with the puck drop at 7 p.m.