Long-time Neil Murdoch Division rivals, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Castlegar Rebels, put on a show for the fans on Friday night in a hard-fought, fast-paced KIJHL matchup that the Nitehawks took by a score of 5 – 3.
Rebels forward #10-Derek Georgopolous put the Rebels up in a hurry, scoring just 18 seconds into the game, with assists going to #21-Chase Reddin and #12-Diego Bartlett.
Under a minute later, #14-Matt Reed tried to extend the lead to two on a breakaway but narrowly missed to the left side of Nitehawks starting goaltender Josh Round.
Beaver Valley countered near the half-way mark of the first on a clean wrister from Ryan Edwards that got past Rebels net-minder Nate Rabbitt.
With Brewer in the box for roughing, Nitehawks defenceman Fraser Stang made it a 2 – 1 game at 6:05 on a beautiful passing play that had the Rebels defence shaking their heads.
At 2:14 of the first, Lyle Frank served a minor for delay of game for firing a puck up over the glass and then with just 27 seconds left on the clock, Beaver Valley was caught with too many men on the ice. The ‘Hawks escaped the period with the slim one-goal lead.
In the second, the Rebs failed to get the equalizer early but Bartlett levelled things up at 11:47 on a nice feed from defenceman Seth Schmidt.
Beaver Valley’s forward Jacob Boyczuk out his squad up by one again, watching as a dribbler bounced in and over the stick of Rabbit with about 40 seconds left on a slashing call to Castlegar’s #23-Mike Bhatoa.
Just over two minutes later, The NItehawks made it a 4 – 2 lead on a swift turnaround from Michael Bell.
The Rebels never lacked for effort throughout the 60 minutes and, on an opportunistic three-on-one that #27-Quinn Klimchuk made no mistake on, closed within one with 2:46 left in the middle frame. #15-Ed Lindsey and #17-Darren Medeiros racked up assists on the play.
Taylor Stafford ended any hopes of a late Castlegar rally when Taylor Stafford became the fifth Nitehawk to find the net.
The Rebels’ Tyler Bryant was involved in a massive centre-ice collision that put him down briefly. He skated to the bench doubled over and was clearly in pain. He eventually returned to the game but was seen wincing after numerous hits. It’s unclear where his injury was but appeared to be upper body.
The Rebels three-game winning streak came to a close and the team is now 3-2-0-2 on the season and tied with Beaver Valley with eight points in the Kootenay Conference.
Rabbitt played just over 38 minutes, stopping 13 of 18 before being replaced by backup Patrick Zubick who stopped all nine shots he faced in the remainder. Brett Clark got the win in net for Beaver Valley, while also splitting net minding duties with Josh Round. Clark stopping 18 of 19 and played about two minutes longer than Round who allowed three on 15 shots,
The Rebels power play was a lacklustre 0 for 5 on the night.
Attendance at the game was a little over 200.