Nathan Dominici scored the game winner and netminder Connor Stojan stopped 44 shots for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Creston Valley Thundercats on Saturday (Nov. 5) at the Beaver Valley Arena.
The Nitehawks played two home games against East Kootenay rivals, but, were on the wrong side of a 4-1 match against the Golden Rockets on Friday.
Dominici continued his good play, as the Trail native notched his team leading ninth goal and 15th point of the season, scoring the game winner on a second-period power play. Nitehawks defenceman Kaleb Percival fed a streaking Dominici who flew past the defenceman and went forehand-backhand on Creston goalie Jacob Burnside at 3:18 of the second period for a 2-0 lead.
The win keeps the 9-4-0-2 Nitehawks in second place in the Neil Murdoch Division, with the surging 12-4-1-0 Grand Forks Border Bruins winning 4-1 games against both the Fernie Ghostriders and the Rockets on the weekend.
Hawks forward Spencer Dixon-Reusz tallied his first of the season, redirecting a point-shot from Percival for a 1-0 lead 16:01 into the first period.
Creston’s Campbell Mclean wired a shot past Stojan from the slot to make it 2-1 midway through the middle frame. But Gavin Tritt cleaned up a scramble in front, driving the goalie and the puck into the net to restore the two-goal lead with 8:26 to go in the period.
The Hawks gave the Thundercats their chances, taking a flurry of penalties in the second half, but managed to kill off a two-man advantage and go 10-for-10 on the penalty kill.
Dominici took a boarding penalty 22 seconds into the third, and Creston began a determined effort to get back in the game. But Stojan was unbeatable, as Creston outshot B.V. 17-6 in the period.
“Stojan has been solid all year,” said Nitehawks goalie coach Darren Miracle. “He hasn’t let one bad goal in all season.”
Percival scored an empty netter with 56 seconds remaining for his third point of the night and the 4-1 victory.
Creston outshot B.V. 45-31 and went 0-for-10 on the power play, while the Nitehawks were 1-for-4.
Strong goaltending is the backbone of any good penalty kill, but the Hawks PK units did a great job of keeping most shots to the perimeter, and workhorses like forward Ethan Smyth were key.
“We are lucky to have two good goalies, but it seems like every team has a quality goalie this year,” said Miracle.
The Nitehawks ran into one of them on Friday in the 4-1 loss to Golden. In a back and forth match up, Golden goalie, Levi Hall, was the difference stopping 33 of 34 shots.
The Rockets led 3-0 at the end of the second period, and B.V. pressed hard in the third, outshooting the Rockets 16-5 but a goal from Kade Cochlan made it 4-0 three minutes into the final frame.
Jeremy Hanson scored midway through the period for the lone B.V. goal.
The Nitehawks outshot the Rockets 34-32, going 1-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
As Miracle said, goaltending has been the difference in many KIJHL games this season. According to the stats, Stojan at 6-0-1-0 has the fourth best save percentage in the league at .941 and ninth best in goals against average at .222.
The top ranked goalie is Damon Cunningham from Sicamous with a .959 SVP and a1.50 GAA in six games.
There are 20 goalies in the 19-team league with a GAA under 3.00, including Beaver Valley’s other starter Nathan Presley who boasts a respectable .909 SVP and a 2.98 GAA.
Beaver Valley travels to Nelson on Thursday for a tilt against the Leafs at 7 p.m., and heads to Fernie Saturday to face the Ghostriders at 6 p.m. PT. Games can be streamed on HockeyTV.