The Beaver Valley Nitehawks fell to the Castlegar Rebels 3-1 on Sunday.
The loss to their division rival stings, as it was the Hawks third in five games. Yet, B.V. still clings to a tenuous hold on a share of first place in the Neil Murdoch Division with the Nelson Leafs, who have two games in hand.
Rebels forward Griffen Ryden scored twice in the first period to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
B.V.’s Austin McKenzie has held the hot hand of late, scoring his sixth goal in three games. The Fruitvale product netted his ninth of the season on an unassisted effort at 3:02 of the second period to cut the lead to 2-1.
However, Ryden completed the hat trick with 45 seconds to play in the middle frame for the 3-1 final.
The Rebels outshot the Nitehawks 44-32, and were 0-for-9 on the power play, while Beaver Valley was 0-for-5.
On Friday, the Hawks suffered a 6-3 loss to the Golden Rockets following a 4-2 victory over the Grand Forks Border Bruins, Wednesday, Nov. 10.
McKenzie netted a hat trick against the Bruins, and scored twice in the loss to the Rockets.
Gavin Tritt opened the scoring with his fifth of the season just 20 seconds into the first period to give B.V. a 1-0 lead.
Beaver Valley outshot Golden 19-9 in the period but came out of the period tied 1-1.
The Rockets broke it open in the second frame, scoring three times to take a 4-2 lead, with McKenzie scoring his first of the game for the Hawks.
McKenzie scored his second of the night late in the period and Golden counted two more for the 6-3 final.
The Nitehawks outshot Golden 41-to-34, with both teams going 2-for-9 on the power play.
B.V.’s next games are as important as games get early in the year as the Hawks host the Leafs Nov. 19 and 20 at the B.V. Arena, with the puck drop at 7 p.m.