Slow start dooms Bruins against BV Sunday

The Border Bruins took on the top two teams in the KIJHL at home on the weekend and came away with a split.

Kyle Dolly of the Bruins carries the puck behind the Beaver Valley in the first period of Sunday's game at the Jack Goddard Arena.

Kyle Dolly of the Bruins carries the puck behind the Beaver Valley in the first period of Sunday's game at the Jack Goddard Arena.

The Border Bruins took on the top two teams in the KIJHL at home on the weekend and came away with a split. Not a bad outing, considering the team is just getting back to mid-season form after a number of injuries.On Friday, the Bruins bounced back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the first place Nelson Leafs, while Sunday afternoon saw Grand Forks fall to the red hot Beaver Valley Nitehawks 5-2 at Jack Goddard Memorial Arena.Against Nelson, the Leafs pulled out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Travis Wellman and Brandon Sookro but the Bruins didn’t give up. The home team scored four unanswered in the second period to take a commanding 4-2 lead and then added one in the third to put the game away.“After the first period I just called a spade a spade and said, ‘Guys, that’s a boring period of hockey. We’re not even playing our best hockey and we’re in this game with Nelson. Let’s rev it up and show them what we can do,’” said Bruins head coach Kevin Flather.Leading the way for Grand Forks were Jackson Purvis and Connor Gross, who scored a pair of goals each and added a pair of assists each. Max Newton added a single marker.“Purvis and Gross have just been unbelievable all year,” said Flather. “You can’t even put into words how consistent they’ve been. What they’ve done is remarkable. They’re giving us a chance to win every night.”Dominic Stadnyk was solid in between the pipes for GF stopping 45 of 47 shots.“He played really well,” said Flather. “He really shut the door. He was a little lackadaisical at the start but then he turned it around. He’s back to where he left off and that’s what we need from him if we’re going to have a deep run down the stretch here.”On Sunday against Beaver Valley, Grand Forks found themselves down 4-0 early in the second after giving up two power play goals and a short handed goal.The Bruins fought back with a short-handed goal of their own by Tucker Brown, assisted by Coleton Dawson and Cam McLennan, at the 12 minute mark of the second period, and a power play marker from Michael Rand, assisted by Mitch Dolman and McLennan at 2:56 of the second.Braden Fuller put BV up 6-2 with a power play goal seven seconds into the third period.After GF captain Jackson Purvis was run by a Nitehawk player, a donnybrook ensued with Corey Munro of the Bruins taking on BV tough guy Jacob Boyczuk.“That’s twice now they’ve taken out Purvis and cheap-shotted him,” said Flather. “If they think they’re going to do that, they’ve underestimated us. We maxed out on our fights. Munro beats up the toughest guy in the league (Boyczuk). Our boys went bananas.”After the fight, GF responded with three straight goals (Graham Watkins, Lincoln Lane and Tucker Brown) to cut the ‘Hawks lead to one.Unfortunately, veteran BV forward Dallas Calvin scored a power play marker at 1:56 of the third, his third of the game, to put the Bruins away.Kai McDonald played the first 25:52 of the game, letting in four goals in 24 shots. Stadnyk came in and made 26 saves out of 29.Flather was very pleased with the team’s effort throughout the weekend.“We just went stride for stride with, in my opinion, the top team in the league Beaver Valley and beat the number one team statistically in the league in Nelson,” he said. “We’re on a roll, we’ve got momentum. It’s not an accident what’s happening. We’re on pace to have the most wins in 30 years (for a Grand Forks team). We’re going to make the play-offs, there’s no doubt in my mind. We’re picking up momentum at just the right time; just before play-offs.”On Wednesday, the Border Bruins host the Osoyoos Coyotes in a rare mid-week game. The game was originally scheduled for Midway but has been moved to Grand Forks and the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena.On the weekend, GF travels to Nelson for a rematch with the Leafs in the unfriendly confines of the Nelson Community Centre. Saturday sees the Bears heading South to face Spokane in a crucial game. Grand Forks is currently four points back of the Braves with four games in hand. Any encounter between the two teams is essentially worth four points.“We have a tough schedule coming up,” said Flather. “We’ve got games in hand on everybody and we’ve got to play catch-up. It’s important for us to just focus on what we do day in and day out.”Bear bitsConnor Gross leads the Bruins in scoring with 58 points including 25 goals in 38 games. Jackson Purvis, who’s second in team scoring with 49 points in 25 games, was selected for the KIJHL’s who’s hot website profile after scoring five goals and 10 assists in the last six games.