The Beaver Valley Nitehawks won two of three this week but still couldn’t find a way to beat their bitter rebel rival.
The Nitehawks feasted on Grand Forks 11-2 on Thursday and doubled up Kimberley 6-3 on Friday before bowing to the Castlegar Rebels Saturday.
The Rebels have had the Nitehawks number this year, winning their last four games in a row against the league leaders, including Saturday night’s game, a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind overtime win.
“It was a tough loss,” said Nitehawks assistant coach Jeremy Cominotto.
“But we were really happy with the way the team played. In our minds we deserved to win.”
The Hawks were leading throughout the game, but the Rebels pulled their goalie and tied it with 14 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Hawks defenceman Derek Lashuk then took a hooking penalty 17 seconds into the extra frame to give the Rebels a 4 on 3 advantage.
With the Nitehawks short handed, the Rebels worked the puck around the perimeter before defenceman Erik Alden wired a slap shot past a screened Zack Perehudoff one minute into OT to give the Rebels the two points.
“It’s a tough break taking a penalty in overtime and giving a team like that an opportunity to go 4 on 3. Everything happened so quick.”
The Nitehawks started the scoring on the power play when Christian Johnson took a pass from Mason Spear and banked it in off the Rebels goalie, Jordan Gluck at 8:43 of the first.
Castlegar replied on their own power play barely 40 seconds into the second period before the Hawks would regain the lead.
Chris Derochie finished a beautiful 2 on 1 passing play, taking a feed from Ryan Edwards and deking Gluck to put the Hawks on top 2-1.
The score would stay that way for most of the third period.
With their goalie pulled, the Rebels hemmed the Hawks in their own zone. Unable to make a change or clear the zone, a fatigued Nitehawk defense coughed up the puck and Anthony Delong made a quick pass to Stuart Walton standing at the edge of the crease. Walton banged it in to tie the game with only seconds remaining.
Castlegar outshot the Hawks 39-27 in the game.
The loss spoiled the Hawks’ 30th birthday party that saw longtime organizer, founder and Nitehawk executive Shirley Levesque drop the ceremonial puck for the opening faceoff. Joining Levesque were original Nitehawks Gerry Tomlin and Sheldon Collins.
Nitehawk notes: While the Nitehawks didn’t make any moves before the trade deadline, they did add some grit signing ’92 forward Ryan Baines to their roster last week.
“He’s a hard working guy whose not afraid to pipe up in the dressing room, not afraid to drop the mitts, or take a big hit, or give a big hit . . . not to say he’s not skilled but he brings a lot more grit than anything else,” said Cominotto.
The Hawks were without forward Dallas Calvin who is out for about a week after he strained his knee in practice.
However, with a dozen or so games to go in the regular season, Calvin and forward 16-year-old Scott Davidson, who has been out most of the season with a knee injury, should be in the lineup for the stretch run.
“He’s one of the best 16-year-old players in the area . . . and when you can make that kind of addition late in the year, it’s definitely a good thing.”
The Hawks hit the road this weekend but return to play the Rebels in Castlegar on Sunday and Grand Forks at home Tuesday.