The Beaver Valley Nitehawks failed to clinch the Neil Murdoch Division semifinal on Monday.
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats scratched out a 5-3 victory at the Hawks Nest, cutting B.V.’s lead in the best of seven series to three games to two.
Creston forward Campbell Mclean scored the game winner off a scramble in front of Hawks goalie Owen Albers five minutes into the final frame to give the visitors a 4-3 lead.
The victory extends the series to a Game 6 in Creston Tuesday night and gives the Cats some momentum heading home.
The Nitehawks captain Brennan Wilson opened the scoring with a power play goal, blasting a point shot through traffic with 46 seconds left in the first period.
But a B.V. penalty in the final moments gave Creston a power play opportunity, and Luke Chakrabarti capitalized with five seconds left on the clock to tie it at 1-1.
The bounces were going Creston’s way in the second and Landon Hedges finished a rush down the right wing and fired a shot that handcuffed Albers for a 2-1 lead 49 seconds into the middle frame. Mclean made it 3-1 gathering a bounce off the back board and banking it off of Albers and in at 16:50.
B.V. battled back with Nathan Dominici tipping in a point shot from Wilson at 6:32 and six minutes later Gavin Tritt redirected a shot from Spencer Dixon-Reusz past Carlos Siso to tie it at 3-3.
Beaver Valley seemed in disarray in the third, and Creston, facing elimination, played determined hockey.
After Mclean’s winning goal, the Whitecourt product completed the hat trick with 10:35 left to play for the 5-3 final.
B.V. had a glimmer of hope when Hunter Burgeson batted one out of the air and past Siso, however, the referee immediately called it off indicating a high stick.
The Cats outshot the Hawks 39-35 and went 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Nitehawks were 2-for-7.
In the other Neil Murdoch division semifinal, a shorthanded Nelson Leafs team remained alive, defeating the Castlegar Rebels 6-3.
Frustration set in for the Leafs in the Game 4 Rebels win, when a melee broke out at the end of the 4-2 victory. Leafs assistant coach Brandon Costa received a 10 game suspension for a gross misconduct, Leafs forward Bryden Pow got six games for a gross misconduct and match penalty, Nelson defenceman Bryce Sookro received five games for a match penalty for high sticking, and forward Simon Nemethy was given a three game suspension for a butt end.
Castlegar forward Tyler Ralph got three games for a major penalty for charging.
Beaver Valley travels to Creston on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop for Game 6, and Nelson plays in Castlegar with a 7 p.m. faceoff.
If necessary, Castlegar will play Game 7 in Nelson on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and the Thunder Cats will play in Beaver Valley Thursday at 7 p.m.