Castlegar News contributor
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks beat the Castlegar Rebels 6-5 in first round playoff action March 2 at the Castlegar Complex.
Beaver Valley’s win is the fourth in a row to clinch the first round and move into the next series in the KIJHL playoffs. Although the game previous was not a close win and marred by fighting and penalties, the March 2 game was an exciting, close match with no fighting and very few penalties resulting in an extremely entertaining game of classic hockey before the Rebels’ home crowd.
The Nitehawks dominated scoring in the first period with Riley Brandt scoring twice and Braden Fuller and Dan Holland each landing a goal apiece to give the Nitehawks a four goal advantage by the end of the first period.
The Rebels, however, switched goalies for the second period to put into action a Midget player, Solomon Burke – a 16 year-old called up at the last moment after planned starting goalie Patrick Zubick took a puck to the neck during warmup. Solomon Burke played admirably, slowing the Nitehawks offence to two goals by Dallas Calvin at 12:01 and 1:32 of the period. The Rebels were now able to put up a comeback, scoring twice in the second period with goals by Connor Beauchemin assisted by Jeremy McNeil and Darren Medeiros at 15:55 and Chase Reddin, assisted by Evan Kite at 4:01.
The third period saw the Nitehawks unable to put a puck past the young Burke, while the Rebels poured on the offence with a goal at 17:36 by Derek Georgopoulos, assisted by Aaron Brewer, 10:08 by Diego Bartlett assisted by Kyle Chernoff and Hunter Jenerou and with five minutes left in the game, Darren Medeiros scored assisted by Connor Beauchemin and Jeremy McNeil.
With the Rebels within one, their fans cheered enthusiastically for their boys to tie the game and go into overtime. But the Nitehawks held on to win and proceed to the next round versus the winner of the Nelson-Spokane series which stood at three games to one as of Monday afternoon.
A number of Rebels were approached following the game, but declined to comment.